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Christian/Muslim Group Urges NJC To Save Plateau From Implosion



Christian Muslim Plateau

A Plateau State Christian and Muslim Inter-Faith group has chided those they termed as “desperate politicians,” for trying to ignite a fresh crisis in the State and urged the Appeal Court to desist from employing twisted judicial logic to upturn the popular decisions taken by citizens of the State during the last general elections.

This came on the heels of conflicting judgments on the said elections which are ongoing in the court as the group through their co-leaders, Evangelist Joshua Ringsum and Imam Othman Abdullahi briefed journalists in Jos on Saturday.

Noting past upheavals on the plateau and how predictions of bloody elections were punctured, the Christian/Muslim leader said:

“While many predicted a bloody 2023 general elections in Plateau State, the people of the State shamed them by conducting themselves in an orderly manner, before, during and after the elections. The exercise in Plateau State turned out to be one of the most peaceful in the country as eligible voters lined up in the sun and voted for the candidates of their choice.

Noting new threats to the peace of the state, they said:

“We are however taken aback with the role of the judiciary concerning the Tribunals set up to look into petitions filed by aggrieved candidates after the elections. Our concern with the tribunals is hinged on their internal conflicting decisions in some cases and some, overruling the decisions of superior courts…”

“Recall that on Friday 20th October 2023, in the case of Tarfaya Asarya of the APC challenging the nomination, qualification and sponsorship of the PDP candidate, Dr. Midala Balami and also challenging the disobedience of the Supreme Court order by PDP in Borno State; The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja led by Justice Chioma Nwosu-Iheme held that under section 285(1) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, the tribunal had a special jurisdiction to only determine whether anyone was validly elected.

“Justice Chioma said that the scope of the jurisdiction conferred on the Tribunal by the Constitution cannot be expanded to include the determination of the validity of the conduct of primary election or nomination of candidates by political parties. The Appeal Court further held that the appropriate place to challenge the nomination, sponsorship or qualification of a candidate, including the disobedience of a Court Order by a Political Party, is the Federal High Court, not the Tribunal or Appeal Court or any other Court.

“Justice Chioma affirmed the judgment of the Tribunal in Borno that said the issue of nomination, sponsorship, and qualification of candidates, including disobedience to Court Orders are pre-election matters that can only be challenged at the Federal High Court. This and other decisions from the Supreme Court on nomination and sponsorship of candidates as pre-election matters must also come to bear.

“Why is it that the decision involving Plateau petitions different? 

Consequently, we find it necessary to warn that the contradictory and conflicting judgments being issued by the election petition tribunals leading to the sacking of elected persons could boomerang into an uprising in Plateau State.”

The Christian/Muslim called on the National Judicial Council (NJC) to “give special focus on panels handling Plateau petitions to avoid the unnecessary tension in the State on account of contradictory and conflicting judgments dispensed to erode the popular mandate of the people through technicalities. We hold strongly firm that it is not fair for the judiciary to decide who wins elections.

“We are calling on desperate politicians to give peace a chance on the Plateau.

We are calling on the Appeal Court and the judiciary to desist from employing technicalities and twisted judicial logic to upturn the popular decisions taken by the people of Plateau State in general elections. We are calling on the Appeal Court and the judiciary to stop the sacking of persons popularly elected during the last elections in Plateau State.

“We are calling on the Court of Appeal and the judiciary to as a matter of concern not drags us into another conflict on the Plateau. We are calling on all Plateau people to remain law abiding and not to take the law into their hands,” the Christian/Muslim group said.

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