As the Plateau State House of Assembly resumes plenary today (Tuesday), the 16 lawmakers elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party said they would resume their legislative duties despite their sacking by the Court of Appeal.
This came as the All Progressives Congress said the lawmakers remained sacked and their plan to resume was an ‘invitation to anarchy and a threat to democracy.
The Court of Appeal in Abuja had in November sacked all the 16 members of the state House of Assembly elected on the platform of the PDP on the grounds that the party had no structure to nominate them as candidates.
Addressing a press conference in Jos, on Monday, the 16 lawmakers, led by a former Majority Leader, Yobo Ishaku, said since the Supreme Court, which upheld the election of Governor Caleb Mutfwang on the same issue had ruled that the PDP had a valid structure to nominate them as candidates, the verdict of the Court of Appeal sacking them as lawmakers had become a nullity.
Ishaku, who represented Bokkos state constituency, said, “Our recess ends today (Monday) and we want to inform the public that we the PDP family are in high spirits and are willing to go back to our legislative duties willingly given to us by our various constituencies. So, we are all ready to resume work tomorrow (Tuesday).”
Explaining the rationale behind their decision to resume plenary, Ishaku said, “While we were on recess, there were two judgments passed regarding the Plateau State House of Assembly. The first one was the one given by the Court of Appeal, of which the Justices said one could not put something on nothing; PDP on the Plateau had no structure and it was on that basis and premise that they sacked all the 16 PDP House of Assembly members.
“And while we were still on recess, the Supreme Court gave its verdict regarding the same issue and in the judgment, the Supreme Court said the case that was brought before the Court of Appeal was fraudulent and that the court even lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the matter in the first place. And by that, it shows that referring to their submission, you cannot build something on nothing. By implication, the verdict of the Court of Appeal is a nullity and we are disregarding that judgment in its entirety.”
Ishaku, who insisted that they were products of democracy who were validly elected by their various constituents also, said, “Our constituents are ready and willing to accompany us to our sitting tomorrow because they voted for us and they are not ready to compromise that.”
The PDP lawmakers called on President Bola Tinubu as well as the heads of the Nigeria judiciary to sanction the President of the Court of Appeal under whose watch they were sacked.
But in a swift reaction, the APC in the state described the planned resumption of the sacked PDP lawmakers as an invitation to anarchy and a threat to democracy.
APC lawmakers said the plan and threats by the sacked members to resume was not only an assault on democracy but an insurrection against the state.
In a statement issued on Monday by its Publicity Secretary, Sylvanus Namang, the Plateau APC insisted that the PDP lawmakers remained sacked under the law.
The APC said, “It has come to the notice of the Plateau State chapter of the APC, a plan by the 16 members of the PDP sacked by the Court of Appeal last year to invade the House, which resumes sitting tomorrow (Tuesday) after nearly two months recess as sitting members of the Plateau State House of Assembly.
“According to information reaching us, the members sat at an undisclosed location and addressed the press on their invidious and diabolical plan.
“According to information at our disposal, the sacked members would be accompanied by members of their various constituencies to confuse an unimaginable proportion.
“The press conference, which was laced with threats, warned the APC members of the House not to go near the House of Assembly because the Supreme Court had invalidated the judgment of the Court of Appeal which sacked them.
“What began last week as a veiled threat by a former Speaker of the Plateau State House of Assembly, Istifanus Mwansat, during his infamous interview with AIT is fast becoming a reality.
“The APC and all peace-loving citizens of Plateau State had expected that he ought not to be walking the streets as a free citizen following his inflammatory outbursts.
“The APC accepted for the sake of democracy and peaceful coexistence, the judgment of the Supreme Court in good fate and appealed to our members not to embark on anything to the contrary which they obeyed.”