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Tribunal judgement declaring Lalong winner strange – PDP



By Sola Omoniyi, Lagos

The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Plateau State has rejected the judgement of the National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal that gave the Plateau South Senate seat to Mr Simon Lalong

Its Chairman, Mr Chris Hassan rejected the judgement while briefing newsmen on Tuesday in Jos.

According to the report, the tribunal chairman, Justice M. B. Tukur, on Monday, declared Lalong the winner of the Feb. 25 National Assembly polls.

It also nullified the election of Mr Peter Gyendeng of Riyom/Barkin Ladi Federal Constituency and declared Fom Dalyop of the Labour Party (LP), who came second, as the winner.

The duo had approached the tribunal to challenge the emergence of Napoleon Bali and Gyendeng, both of the PDP, as Senator and House of Representatives members, respectively.

The tribunal, in knocking off the winners, relied on the petitioners’ claim that they were wrongly nominated as the PDP had no structure when they emerged as candidates.

Hassan, while rejecting the judgement, insisted that justice was not served by the Judges’ opinions.

”The PDP watched with dismay and trepidation the nullification of the elections of our Senator representing Plateau South and the House of Representatives member representing Barkin Ladi/Riyom Federal Constituency.

”We reject the outcome of the judgement 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 judgement was an electoral robbery which is unacceptable to the people of Plateau because it is contrary to the will of the people of the constituencies which was freely expressed via the votes we got in the election,” he said.

Hassan maintained that the tribunal erred to have relied on the internal squabbles of the PDP to deliver its judgement in favour of the petitioners.

He explained that his party had since complied with the judgment of Justice S.P. Gang and conducted a fresh congress, insisting that the party currently has “a solid and valid structure.”

He added that the decision of the tribunal on the matter had utterly fallen short of expectation, saying that it was bereft of an iota of justice.

The chairman described the judgements as a diversion of the undiluted will and choices of the people in the light of the consolidated judgements recently delivered by the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal.

”In this case, the PDP had since complied with the judgement of Justice S. P. Gang through a repeat congress in 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 sitting in Jos in a judgement delivered by Justice D. V. Agishi in the case of Augustine Timkuk versus PDP validating the state executive of the Party as duly elected.

”This same judgment was also unanimously affirmed by the court of Appeal, Jos, in favour of the PDP in a ruling by Justice T. Y. Hassan, Justice I. A. Andenyangtso and Justice O. O. Goodluck, delivered on 11 Feb. 2023.

”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, it will stand.

”This is because the same position was affirmed by the seven judgments of panel two of the National and State Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal which is a sister panel to this one,” he said.

Hassan, however, said that the party would explore legal means to retain its mandate, adding that the judgement would not destroy its confidence in the judiciary.

He called on the supporters of the party to be law-abiding and support Bali and Gyendeng to succeed in office.