17th November 2023
Good afternoon esteemed members of the press, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. We, the Concern PDP Muslim Youth Council, gather here today to express our deep concern and disappointment regarding the recent judgment by the Court of Appeal, which nullified the election of PDP candidates in the last February General Election. We believe this judgments signifies a miscarriage of justice.
We would like to bring to your attention that the Constitution clearly states that the sponsorship and nomination of a candidate is an internal affair of a political party. This means that political parties have the right to select their candidates in accordance with their party guidelines and procedures. The court’s decision to nullify the PDP candidates’ election undermines this constitutional provision and raises questions about the integrity and fairness of the judgments.
Recall that in May 2023, in PDP versus Kashim Shettima, the Supreme Court, in dismissing the appeal, ruled that, you cannot challenge a political party over structure even if it does not have the structure. Also, the Supreme Court dismissed the Allied Peoples Mandate’s suit against the Independent National Electoral Commission on the same ground. Similarly, in October 2023, the Appeal Court, in strict adherence to established jurisprudence, dismissed a matter by the All Progressives Congress candidate for a House of Representatives seat in Borno state against the Peoples Democratic Party. Justice Chioma Nwosu-Iheme in her lucid and clear judgment held that the appropriate place to challenge the nomination, sponsorship, and qualification of a candidate is the High Court NOT Tribunal Appeal Court or any other Court.
As concerned citizens, we firmly believe that the judiciary should be the last hope of the common man. We understand the importance of an impartial and fair judicial system in upholding the principles of justice and safeguarding the rights of all individuals. Therefore, we urge the honorable court to reconsider its decision and ensure that justice prevails for the benefit of all citizens.
The purpose of our press conference extends beyond highlighting the specific judgment at hand. We aim to draw attention to the multiple injustices that plague the state of Plateau. It is essential that these injustices are acknowledged and addressed promptly to safeguard the rights and well-being of the residents. The obvious illogic which characterized the judgments fall short of our constitutional and electoral jurisprudence.
In light of the delicate situation we are currently facing, we would like to commend the peace-loving leader Barr. Caleb Manasseh Mutfwang, the Executive Governor of Plateau State, for his humility, dexterity and his leadership prowess. He has demonstrated maturity, competence and styling leadership during this challenging period which deserves recognition and appreciation.
In closing, we would like to offer our heartfelt prayers for Governor Mutfwang, as well as for all PDP members in the House of Assembly. We express our unwavering support as they navigate the legal proceedings and seek justice for the sake of the party and the people they represent.
The justices decided to side-track, neglect, and jettison established precedents clearly and explicitly delivered by the Supreme Court. It is not only sad and painful; but shameful that the justices, in their warped wisdom, gave such patently prejudiced and inconsistent judgments without respect for existing substantive and procedural law.
Once again, we emphasize the need for fair and just judicial system that respects the internal affairs of political parties and upholds the constitutional provisions. It has been established that the Court of Appeal does not have the jurisdiction to listen to pre-election matter and cannot expand its jurisdiction to do that. We call upon the public, the media, and all stakeholders to kick against the injustice inflicted on the people of Plateau State and join hands to ensure justice prevails.
Thank you for your attention.
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