Justice Christine Dabup of Jos High Court IV, on Friday dismissed the case filed by Deposed APC Chairman and his deputy against PDP Chairman, Plateau State Independent Electoral Commission ( PLASIEC),Plateau Chief Judge and the State Governor.
The plaintiffs, Messers Kparnim Amos-Nanloh and his deposed deputy, Kennedy Bamle, had also sued the Chairman and members of the Local Government Appeal Tribunal, All Progressives Congress (APC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Social Democratic Party (SDP), Ubandoma Joshua Laven and Plateau State House of Assembly on Aug. 28, 2019.
Nigeria News Agency reports that when the case came up for hearing, the plaintiffs refused to show up together with their counsel, following a letter withdrawing the case written directly to the judge.
The plaintiffs had sought for a declaration that the Plateau State Independent Electoral Laws had no commencement date and so the appointment of the Chairman and members of the Local Government Appeal Tribunal by the Chief Judge of Plateau State was null and void including the decision of the Appeal Tribunal which removed them from office.
They also sought that a certificate of return should not be issued to Ubandoma Joshua Laven by PLASIEC and restraining PLASIEC from conducting any local government election in Plateau State until the law became operational.
NAN reports that when the case came up for hearing on Oct. 16, 2019, the other Local Government Chairmen applied to be joined as Co-defendants because the suit had the effect of removing them all from office if it succeeded.
Consequently, on Oct. 21, the Chairmen were all joined as 14th to 24th defendants and the case was adjourned to Nov. 15 for definite hearing to enable the plaintiffs to amend their originating summons to reflect the additional defendants.
But when the case up on Friday, Nov. 15, they were not in court not even one of their counsel came around to give any explanation to why they were absent in court.
It was the presiding judge who informed the counsels representing the defendants about the letter she received from the plaintiffs, which she said was “strange” to the practice direction.
Dabup was furious that the plaintiffs bypassed their counsels and wrote directly to her office, and warned against such act.
Consequently, all the defendants’ Counsels led by Chief Pius Akubo (SAN), asked the Court to discountenance the letter by the plaintiffs to the Presiding Judge because it was unheard of for parties to communicate with a Judge.
“Moreover, any communication with the Court is to file a motion to withdraw with leave of Court and not by writing a letter to the Judge and not even to the Registrar of Court, “ Akubo stated.
At that stage, all the defendants’ counsels applied that the suit be dismissed with Akubo, the lawyer for PLASIEC, asking, “both the plaintiffs and their lawyer be asked to come and explain why they would write a letter to the Presiding Judge.”
They all applied for cost of the withdrawal of the case by the plaintiffs to the tune of N2.5m.
Justice Dabup, however, dismissed the suit with a total punitive and exemplary cost of N2,000,000 to all the defendants.
She then expressed disgust over the letter written to her by the plaintiffs and said that if they (plaintiffs) had been present in court, she would have detained them the whole day in court for contempt for them to have communicated with the Judge directly instead of through their lawyer.
NAN reports that the LG Appeal Election Tribunal had declared PDP candidate, Ubsndoma Joshua Laven, winner of the Oct. 10, 2018 LG polls held in 13 of the 17 local government areas of the state.
Following the decision of the appeal tribunal, Gov. Simon Lalong sweared in Ubandoma as Chairman of Langtang North Local Government.
Edited by Abdullahi Yusuf