The Plateau State People’s Democratic Party, PDP, has rejected the National Assembly election tribunal judgements that invalidated the elections of Senator Napoleon Bali and Peter Gyendeng, Member of the Barkin Ladi/Riyom federal constituency.
Former Governor Simon Lalong of the All Progressives Congress, APC was proclaimed the winner of the Plateau South senatorial election on Monday, and Chollom Fom of the Labour Party, LP was named the winner of the Barkin Ladi/Riyom seat.
In a news conference conducted on Tuesday in Jos, the State Chairman of the PDP, Chris Hassan, urged for calm and revealed that the Party had filed an appeal against the rulings.
“The People’s Democratic Party, PDP, watched with dismay and trepidation yesterday, the nullification of the elections of our Senator representing Plateau South and House of Representatives Member representing Barkin Ladi/Riyom Federal Constituency led by Hon Justice M.B. Tukur, and two others, Hon Justice Omaka Elewa and Hon Justice O. A. Adetujoye, and the Party rejects the outcome of the judgment in its entirety because justice was not served at the election.
“The judgments delivered yesterday by the National and State Houses of Assembly Tribunal (Panel 1) on the March 2023 National Assembly Election, which the PDP clearly won by a majority of votes in Barkin Ladi/Riyom Federal Constituency and the Plateau South Senatorial District Elections, was an electoral robbery that is unacceptable to the people of Plateau State because this judgment is contrary to the will of the people of Plateau South and Barkin Ladi/Riyom.
“Following the declaration by INEC that Hon. Peter Gyendeng of the PDP won the majority of lawful votes cast in the Barkin Ladi/Riyom Federal Constituency, who won with over 4000 votes difference, and that AVM Napoleon Bali (rtd) won the majority of lawful votes cast in the Plateau South Senatorial Election (winning 5 Local Government Areas out of 6 with over 57,000 votes difference, and Labour Party came second, with APC in third position,” Bali and Gyendeng were named the winners of the National Assembly Elections on February 25, respectively.
“The PDP has since complied with Justice S P Gang’s judgment by holding a repeat congress in September 2021, which was duly monitored by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as required by law.” This same congress was affirmed by the federal High Court Jos in a judgment delivered by Hon Justice D. V. Agishi in the case of one Augustine Timkuk vs PDP validating the State Executive of the Party as duly elected, and this same judgment was also unanimously affirmed in favor of the PDP by Hon TY Hassan, Hon Justice I. A. Andenyangtso, and Hon Justice O O Goodluck delivered on 11th February 2023.”
“The fact remains that the PDP has a valid and solid structure through which our mandate was given, and we are optimistic that by the special grace of God Almighty, it will stand,” he said, adding that “the same position was affirmed by the 7 Judgments of panel two (2) of the National and State Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal, which is a sister panel to panel one(1).” We take great care to inform you that the tribunal’s ruling on this subject falls far short of that expectation.
“We are here to tell you that, the judgment of the tribunal yesterday is a judgment that we refuse to accept because it is bereft of substantial justice and a diversion of the undiluted will and choices of the Plateau people in the light of the consolidated judgments recently delivered by the Presidential Election Petition Court in the Presidential Petition which is not far from the petitions here at the Tribunal.
“Consequently, we have asked our lawyers to take the mandate of the Plateau people as their right of appeal to the Court of Appeal to reflect the wishes of the electorate. Because this will of the people “as freely expressed by electing Senator Napoleon Bali and Hon Peter Gyendeng must be respected. As a law-abiding Party, we will explore all available legal means to restore the victory of the PDP.
“We, therefore, urge Party stakeholders, supporters, and indeed the people of Plateau state to remain calm and vigilant, as there is no cause for alarm and these judgments are just temporary setbacks, legal machineries have been set in motion to reclaim our mandate as we restate our confidence in the institution of the judiciary to dispense justice in this matter at the Appellate Court.”