Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong’s “sudden” designation of Friday, October 8, as a public holiday ahead of Saturday’s local government polls, according to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The PDP specifically stated that the public holiday was intended to halt the hearing of its appeal at the Jos Appeal Court against a High Court ruling that barred it (PDP) from participating in the election.
In an interview with NAN in Mangu, Mr Edward Pwajok (SAN), Counsel to the PDP, expressed the Party’s position.
“The whole point of the public holiday,” Pwajok explained, “is to prevent the Court of Appeal from hearing our motion of appeal against the lower court’s decision in PLASIEC’s favor.”
“We understand the game being played out, but we will still present our case to the Appellate Court tomorrow.” We’ll know what to say if the court doesn’t open. It’s alright if it sits.
“I won’t say anything more until tomorrow since I have to appear in court by 9.00 a.m.” We’ll go ahead if it sits, but if it doesn’t, we’ll know what to say.”
The Plateau Democratic Party (PDP) lost a petition against the Plateau State Electoral Commission (PLASIEC) last month, challenging the party’s exclusion from the October elections.
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.