From Tongnaan Bawa, Jos
The Plateau State People’s Democratic Party, PDP in Plateau State has rejected the National Assembly election tribunal judgments which set aside the elections of Senator Napoleon Bali and Peter Gyendeng who is the Member representing Barkin Ladi/Riyom federal constituency.
The said tribunal had on Monday declared former Governor Simon Lalong of the All Progressives Congress, APC as the winner of the Plateau South senatorial election and Chollom Fom of the Labour Party, LP as the winner of the Barkin Ladi/Riyom constituency.
Reacting to the development, the State Chairman of the PDP, Chris Hassan in a press conference held on Tuesday in Jos, called for calm and said the Party has appealed against both judgments.
According to him, “The People’s Democratic Party, PDP watched with dismay and trepidation 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 yesterday, and the Party rejects the outcome of the judgment in its entirety because justice was not served and it did not reflect the law and the interest of the majority of the people as freely expressed at the election.
“The judgments delivered on Monday by the National and State Houses of Assembly Tribunal (Panel 1) on the March 2023 National Assembly Election which the PDP won clearly by Majority of votes in Barkin Ladi/Riyom Federal Constituency and the Plateau South Senatorial District Elections was an electoral robbery which 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 federal constituency.
“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 lawful votes cast in the Plateau South Senatorial Election (winning 5 Local Governments Areas out of 6 with over 57,000 votes difference and Labour Party came second with APC in 3rd position). Bali and Gyendeng were declared the winners of the February 25, National Assembly Elections respectively…
“The PDP had since complied with the judgment of Justice S P Gang through a repeat congress of September 2021 which was dutifully 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 by the Court of Appeal Jos in favour of the PDP by Hon TY Hassan, Hon Justice I. A. Andenyangtso and Hon Justice O O Goodluck delivered on 11th February 2023.”
He added that “The fact remains that 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 because 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 pains to tell you that the decision of the tribunal on this matter utterly 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 judgements 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, our supporters and indeed the people of Plateau state to be calm and be on alert and continue to support our Distinguish Senator, Hon Member and the party, 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.”