A Civil Society Group, Civil Society Coalition for Credible Elections. (CIVSOCE) has expressed mixed felling over the Plateau State Election Petition Tribunal judgment which nullified the election of member of the House of Representatives, Beni Lar (PDP- Plateau).
The CSO in a statement issued on Wednesday in Abuja called on the Appeal Court to reverse the Aug. 12 judgement of the tribunal against the member representing Langtang North/South Federal Constituency.
The statement was jointly signed by its Convener, Dr Mahmud Nafiu, General Secretary, Mr Jonathan Yakubuy and Director of Media, Aisha Yamusa.
The CSO contended that the nomination of a candidate which the Panel of Justices premised their judgement had been classified as a pre-election matter by the Electoral Act 2022 as amended.
Citing Section 84(14) of the Electoral Amendment Act, the group said, “pre-election matters can only be filed and entertain in the Federal High Court”, insisting that the outcome of the judgement was a travesty of Justice.
It added that though a tribunal has coordinate jurisdiction with a Federal High Court and remains a Special Court as stipulated by Nigeria Constitution, if the phrase tribunal is used in pari-material with the relevant provisions of the Act, “it succinctly captures the word panel.”
The group while expressing confidence in the panel of Justices that constituted the state tribunal, said that the outcome of Langtang North and South could be one of those judicial errors to be corrected at the higher Court.
This, according to the CSO, should be put in the right perspective to guide the higher court’s decision that the public is carefully monitoring court’s proceedings.
“Where a court lacks jurisdiction to entertain a matter, it becomes fundamentally fatal of any decision that emanated from the case.
“Without sounding political, the judgement nullifying the election of Lar representing Langtang North/South calls for serious concern as it is a pre-election matter.
“The Tribunal claimed that there was no proper congress that produced Lar as the House of Representatives candidate of the PDP.
“We ask, where lies the power of the party that has the onus of sponsoring a candidate of its choice.
“We are worried and are seriously asking Appeal Court to look into this case with a view to serve justice,” the CSO pleaded.