Members of a socio-political advocacy group, Justice For All (JFA) has called on election petition tribunals in Nigeria, especially the Plateau State governorship election tribunal to ensure the dispensation of justice in handling ongoing election petitions.
They particularly expressed concern about the judgment of the tribunal annulling results based on pre-election issues against precedence, saying it is curious that the judgement of the tribunal could cause avoidable anarchy. “We are concerned and, indeed, shocked about the strange or nebulous judgment of a tribunal annulling results based on pre-election issues. In fact, we are bewildered as to the principles of law being applied by the two election tribunals in the Plateau State,” the group said.
It however expressed hope that the appellate court will rectify what it described as errors in the judgments and arrest the looming anarchy, saying all eyes are on the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal (GEPT) in the state. “We are, therefore, appealing to the GEPT to do justice and uphold the will of the people,” the group said in a statement that was signed by its project director and director of press, Sam Imodibe and Francis Nyame respectively.
JFA said the tribunals led by Justice William Olamide and Justice Mohammed Tukur respectively, sitting in the same building appear not to be on the same page, making people wonder whether they are using different sets of rules.
“We are asking the tribunals: Were the regulations and guidelines for the elections substantially complied with? Why is the Tukur-led tribunal overturning victories while the Olamide-led tribunal is upholding results of similar election?” it said.
According to reports, the Tukur-led tribunal’s reason for such rulings is that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lacks structure and legal standing to present candidates for the 2023 elections despite previous judgements by other courts affirming the PDP’s victories in Plateau North Senatorial election and Bassa/Jos North federal constituency House of Representatives.
However, the Justice Olamide tribunal discountenanced the argument of the APC and dismissed the cases on the ground that the PDP validly elected its candidates having resolved the crisis that predated the emergence of the present state executive of the PDP with Chris Hassan as chairman.
Imodibe and his group members believe the Tukur ruling is at variance with the Supreme Court’s position and recently applied by the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) in dismissing the APM’s questions on Vice President Kashim Shettima’s nomination as Bola Tinubu’s running mate.
“However, we believe that the Appellate Court has the capacity and courage to ultimately and decisively right the wrongs and correct the manifest errors contained in the judgment of the Tukur tribunal in the interest of the unity, stability and corporate existence of Plateau State,” the statement read in part.