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Appeal Court ruling: Ex Plateau Commissioner blasts PDP for criticising judiciary

Mr Yakubu Dati, former Plateau State Commissioner of Information, has denounced the state’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for abusing the judiciary since the Appeal Court ousted Governor Caleb Mutfwang.

The Appeal Court in Abuja last week overturned the election of Governor Caleb Mutfwang, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, and declared his All Progressives Congress (APC) rival, Dr Nentawe Yilwatda Goshwe, the winner of the race.

Mr. Dati, while answering questions on Arise TV on the political situation in Plateau state, claimed that the protesters took images of the judges who ruled the case and labelled them as enemies of the state.

With a frown on the actions of the PDP and its supporters, Dati explained that the electoral tribunal and the judiciary are both part of the electoral process as enshrined in Nigeria’s constitution, which empowered the judiciary to play a role in the electoral process; thus, criticising the judiciary is unfair.

He stated that this was not the first time a governor has been removed by the judiciary and cited five states where this had occurred: Edo, Anambra, Nassarawa, Bayelsa, and Imo.

The former Commissioner stated that the PDP failed to obey several court orders and stated that every court order should be obeyed, adding that the PDP Plateau state was obstinate in conducting its congresses, and that the APC governorship candidate who would succeed Mutfwang is an IT expert who has worked with international organisations and a university don.

“There are rules and regulations that guide our actions in life as an organised society; so, the disobedience of the court order by PDP is highly condemnable because this is a lawful society and PDP knows that what they did was a contravention of a court order. They were warned and the judiciary looked at the merit of the matter. With that judgement, Plateau people are happy but PDP and its supporters are running helter-skelter.

“The Speaker of the Plateau State House of Assembly, Moses Sule resigned and Dewan Gabriel is now the new Speaker. The House of Assembly said they are embarking on a month’s recess. This is the consequence of those who don’t believe in the rule of law. They want to pull the house down because it does not favour them. This is like a coup. They are suspending the key aspect of the democratic process. But the newly elected Governor has asked the people to remain calm,” Dati said.

The former Commissioner denied using the judiciary to establish a one-party state, recalling that an APC governor was sacked by the court in Zamfara and the election of a PDP gubernatorial candidate was upheld, and that the APC governor-elect was also sacked in Bayelsa.

He claimed that Mutfwang, as governor of Plateau state, fired approximately 1000 workers employed by his predecessor and also fired the local government chairman in charge when he took over as governor, adding that the APC guber, Goshwe, would not disappoint Plateau people.

Based on the Constitution, the judiciary agreed to participate. We are relieved that, notwithstanding the insults poured on the judiciary by PDP supporters, the judiciary remains unaffected. “I’m glad the judiciary is doing its job,” he remarked.

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