Conflicting court judgments will increase voter apathy, says Plateau PDP chair

The Peoples Democratic Party has said the conflicting judgments of the Court of Appeal on elections in some states will increase voter apathy Nigeria.

The PDP Chairman in Plateau State, Chris Hassan, said this in an interview on Sunday in Jos.

Mr Hassan was reacting to the recent judgments of the appeal court that nullified the election of Governor Caleb Mutfwang and some members of the state and National Assembly from Plateau.

Recall that the appellate court cited lack of valid structure in the PDP as grounds for its judgments.

But Mr Hassan faulted the judgments and described them as a “miscarriage of justice,” insisting that the judges relied on technicalities rather than facts.

He said that the contradictory judgments would reduce the participation of most Nigerians in the electoral process.

”Everybody knows that some of the recent judgments of the appeal court on elections were not based on facts but technicalities; the case of Plateau, Kano, Nasarawa states, among others are clear examples.

”What this implies is that the judiciary is not only destroying our democracy, but these judgments will increase voter apathy in future.

”In the case of Plateau for instance, Governor Caleb Mutfwang overwhelmingly won his election with 525,299 votes to defeat Dr Nentawe Yilwatda of the All Progressives Congress, who polled 481,370 votes. This simply means that the majority of Plateau people actually want Mutfwang as their governor.

”So, if our judiciary continue like it is going, most Nigerians will not be motivated to participate in future elections because they know that their votes will not count,’’ he said.

The chairman also faulted the claim of the appellate court that PDP lacks valid structure, insisting that his party had complied with the directive of the state High Court in Jos.

He described PDP as an organised party from inception, adding that it promoted internal democracy and obeyed rule of law.

He stated, “Since the inception of the PDP, it is one party that is well structured. From the manifesto, constitution, philosophy of the party, you will know that there’s no political party in Nigeria that is as organised as the PDP.

”This is why the party is grounded in all the 774 Local Government Areas in Nigeria.’’

Mr Hassan called on the Supreme Court to look into the appeal court judgment on the Plateau governorship election with a view of reversing it.

He also appealed to the National Judicial Council to review the judgments that sacked some members of the state and national assembly from Plateau, adding that such a move would redeem the sinking image of the judiciary.

The chairman, who decried the existence of weak institutions in Nigeria, called on the Federal Government to strengthen its democratic institutions toward a stronger and sustainable democracy.

”A country is respected because of its democratic institutions. Nobody will want to invest in a country where its democratic institutions are weak. Look at democracy in Liberia, a sitting president was defeated and he honourably handed over power to the winner.

”But in Nigeria we want to take power through forceful means. We do that using the institutions that ought to defend the will of the people,” he said.


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