Court quashes APC’s bid to stop Plateau council polls

The judge described the suit by the APC as completely lacking in merit
A Jos High Court on Friday quashed a bid by the All Progressives Congress, APC, to stop the Plateau Local Government election fixed for February 25.

Justice David Mann in his judgement described the suit by the APC as completely lacking in merit.

He dismissed the suit and awarded damages of N50, 000 to each of the defendants in the matter.

The defendants were the Plateau Government, the State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, the Plateau State Independent Electoral Commission and the Plateau State House of Assembly.

APC had asked the court to stop the polls citing the law in use as defective.

The counsel to the APC, Badamasi-Kabir Adam, pointed out that the commission was operating with two conflicting laws.

He said the election should be stopped for the laws to be clarified to avoid the confusion that would ensue.

Mr. Kabir Adam said the Plateau State Electoral Commission, PLASEC, law made in 2011 is being used side by side with another made for the Plateau State Independent Electoral Commission, PLASIEC, in 2013.

However, Justice Mann held that the PLASEC law 2011 and the PLASIEC law 2013 were the same law.

He said that it was the 2011 PLASEC law that was gazetted in May 2013 as PLASIEC law.

“It is the same law and did not differentiate,” he said.

According to the judge, reference made to the wrong law did not vitiate the notice of election issued by the commission.

The judge also held that the Plateau House of Assembly had rights to make laws for local government elections so long as it did not have conflict with the laws made by the National Assembly.

He said that the views of counsel that the PLASIEC law was
inconsistent with the electoral Act, 2010 was grossly misconstrued.

“The electoral Act 2010 has nothing to do with local government elections but apply only to Area Councils and State elections.

“I find the originating summons completely bereft of any merit, I hereby dismiss it, this is my judgement,” he said.

APC in its originating summons also asked the court to interpret the 1999 constitution, and provisions of the electoral Act 2010 which it said were in conflict with the PLASEC Law 2011.

The APC counsel said that some of the provisions of the law were inconsistent with provisions of the electoral Act and the 1999 Constitution and to that extent should be declared null and void.


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