The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Thursday alleged that Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong’s “sudden” declaration of Friday, October 8, as a public holiday ahead of Saturday’s local government polls, was to thwart the course of justice.
The PDP particularly declared that the public holiday was targeted at stopping the hearing of its appeal, at the Jos Appeal Court, against the judgement of a High Court barring it (PDP) from participating in the election.
Mr Edward Pwajok (SAN), Counsel to the PDP, stated the Party’s position in an interview with NAN in Mangu.
Pwajok said, “the whole idea of the public holiday is to stop the Court of Appeal from sitting to hear our motion of appeal against the judgement given by the lower Court in favour of PLASIEC.
“We understand the game being played out, but all the same, we shall go to the Appellate Court tomorrow for our case. If the court doesn’t open, we know what to say. If it sits, then fine.
“I won’t say more until tomorrow because I will be in court by 9.00 a.m. tomorrow. If it sits, fine, we will proceed, but if the contrary, we know what to say.”
PDP had last month lost a case it filed against the Plateau State Electoral Commission (PLASIEC), challenging the Party’s exclusion from the October polls.
Justice Ishaku Kunda of a Jos High Court, in his judgement, upheld PLASIEC’s decision to bar the PDP from participating in the polls.
Dissatisfied, the PDP went to the appellate court, which fixed October 8 for the hearing of the case.
The PDP, which had urged its members to remain calm, was anxiously waiting for the appellate court on Friday when Lalong declared the day a public holiday, knocking off any sitting on the fixed date.
But Chief Garba Pwul, Counsel to PLASIEC, described Lalong’s declaration of Friday as a public holiday for the election as “very normal”.
“It’s the right step taken for a cogent reason.
“I’m surprised that PDP is giving the whole thing a colouration. After all, this isn’t the first time the government is declaring a public holiday in respect of elections,” he said.
Plateau LG Polls: PLASIEC wants to exclude PDP from elections – Party cries out
Plateau LG polls: PDP cries foul, says public holiday will deny justice