The 16 lawmakers of the Plateau State House of Assembly on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who were sacked by the Court of Appeal in November 2023, have approached the same court, seeking to set aside its earlier judgement that nullified their elections.
The Appeal Court had nullified the election of all the PDP lawmakers in the State Assembly on the ground that their party lacked the structure to sponsor candidates in the election.
However, the sacked legislators have insisted that they are still members of the House following the Supreme Court’s judgement affirming the election of Governor Caleb Mutfwang, whose case was also nullified at the Court of Appeal on the same ground.
The Supreme Court had said in its ruling that PDP in Plateau has a structure contrary to the claim by the Appeal Court. The lawmakers believed that the Supreme Court’s judgement had vindicated them.
The lawmakers, including Bala Fwanje Ndat and Datugun Paul Naankot, among others, in their motion on notice, with suit No: CA/J/33M/2024 and CA/J/31/M/2024 said pursuant to order 6 rules 1 of the Court of Appeal, 2021, they should be reinstated into the Assembly.
This was part of their reliefs presented by their counsel, Garba Paul, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, who argued that both the election tribunal and the Court of Appeal lacked jurisdiction over the subject matter.
The sacked legislators said their ground as contained in the motions was predicated upon the fact that “the judgement of the Court delivered on the 24th day of November 2023, is a nullity.”
They are seeking, “An order setting aside the decision of this Honourable court in appeal No. CA/J/EP/PL/SHA/62/2023, Dagogot Karyt Owen & Anor Vs Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), & Ors on 24th November 2023, per E.O Williams-Dawodu, Abdul-Azez Waziri and E.O Abang, JCA.”
According to them, the Supreme Court judgement that validated the nomination and sponsorship of Plateau State Governor, Caleb Mutfwang, suffices that the Court of Appeal should set aside its earlier judgement.
The lawmakers had attempted to return to the House of Assembly but were prevented by the Police, a development that nearly triggered a crisis in the state.
Meanwhile, members of the APC who are beneficiaries of the Court of Appeal judgement are yet to be sworn in by the Speaker of the Assembly, Gabriel Dewan, who claimed there were conflicting court orders on the matter.