The Plateau state faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has reacted after the former governor of the state, Simon Lalong was declared winner of the February 25 Plateau South Senatorial District election.
They rejected the outcome while accusing the National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal of committing electoral robbery.
The tribunal declared that the Minister of Labour and Employment Simon Bako Lalong, who contested the senatorial seat on the All Progressives Congress (APC) platform and emerged second, should be declared the winner.
The counsel to the All Progressives Congress, Edward Pwajok (SAN), while speaking with journalists shortly after the judgment on Monday, said the Court held that the Peoples Democratic Party was not qualified to contest in the election following their refusal to conduct the ward congresses as ordered by a Jos High Court in the year 2021.
Rejecting the judgement, the PDP Chairman in Plateau State, Chris Hassan, during a press conference in Jos, insisted that the ruling was an electoral robbery and unacceptable to the PDP.
Hassan said the opposition rejected the judgement entirely, stressing it was contrary to the people’s will.
He maintained that the tribunal erred to have relied on the internal disputes of the PDP to deliver its judgement in favour of the petitioners.
He said, “The judgement was an electoral robbery, which is unacceptable to the people of Plateau because it is contrary to the will of the constituencies, which was freely expressed via the votes we got in the election.
“The 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.
“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”
Hassan further explained that the PDP 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 noted that the Party would explore legal means to retain its mandate, adding that the judgement would not destroy its confidence in the judiciary.
He said, “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 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.”