Plateau PYC Elections Suspended, Asked To Maintain Status Quo By Court

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Yakubu Busari

A Plateau State High Court sitting at NO, 10, Jos on Wednesday has expressed displeasure with the manner people are flouting the order of the court.

The Plateau Youth Council have suspended the conduct of the election of youth council indefinitely until further notice or after the determination of the suit filed by 14 aggrieved members.

This is based on an order in a case between Hon Ramejo Ramnan and 14 others (Plaintiffs) and Plateau State Government, Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Ministry of Youth & Sport Development and Ignatius Damar (as of 1st 2nd and 3rd Defendants respectively).

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The Plaintiffs had approached the court on Monday 3rd November 2020 and obtained its order restraining the 1st-3rd Defendants/Respondents, their agents, privies, and representatives from inaugurating the 4th Defendant/ Respondent as the electoral committee chairman of the Plateau State Youth Council for not being a youth and a registered member of the Plateau State Youth Council as well as an order restraining the 4th Defendant from submitting himself to the 1st – 3rd Defendants to be sworn in as the chairman electoral committee of the Plateau state Youth Council knowing well that he is neither a youth nor a registered member of the Plateau State Youth Council pending the determination of the main issue.

When the matter came up this morning, counsel for the Plaintiffs, Linus S Pam Esq told the court that its order was blatantly disobeyed by the Defendants by going ahead to inaugurate the Electoral committee (ELCOM) on Tuesday, November 3, 2020, after being served with the court order.

“My Lord, they went ahead to inaugurate the committee the day they were served in total disregard for the court order.

” The ELCOM has been performing its duties against the order of the court. “Even this morning, members of the ELCOM were on PRTV live after sending their lawyer to court”, counsel said.

Plaintiffs’ counsel added that they were served with Defendants/Respondents’ processes just yesterday, November 10, 2020. “My Lord, it was just yesterday that we were served with the Counter Affidavit to our Notice by the 1st 2nd and 3rd Defendants and also a Notice of Preliminary Objection”, he said. Counsel however added that the Defendants’ processes were simply meant to delay proceedings to enable the Defendants to complete their action by conducting the PYC election and even sworn in those elected and in the end, make the court proceedings an exercise in futility. “In the circumstances sir, we are asking for a date to enable us to respond to their Counter Affidavit but in-between, we would initiate contempt proceedings against all the Defendants”, counsel said. In his submission, Gideon Azi Esq, Principal State Counsel in the Plateau State Ministry of Justice and Counsel for the Defendants expressed surprise by the submission of counsel for the Plaintiffs.

He, however, applied for Order 25, rule 20 of the rules for the court to strike out the suit. “My Lord, I apply under Order 25 rule 20 of the rules of this court for this court to strike out this suit because the claim of the Plaintiffs is defective”, he said. While counsel for the Defendants was about to quote the particular paragraph (in the Plaintiffs’ statement of claim) which he was referring to as defective, Counsel for the Plaintiffs objected to this line of submission stressing that the business of the day was for the Order that was served on the Defendants/ Respondents which was flagrantly flouted and also for the Motion on notice that was before the court. “We have not gotten to the stage of pleadings. We are still at the preliminary stage. My Lord, Counsel is jumping one P. O to another”, he said.

At this point, counsel for the Defendants withdrew his submission in that line and asked for a date to move his Preliminary Objection. Again, counsel for the Plaintiffs saw fault in this line of submission.

“My Lord, I am surprised that learned friend’s submission. I thought my learned friend would say that he should be given a date to enable him to advise his clients put on hold the activities of the ELCOM which has violated this court order”.

 It was at this point justice Musa called for caution stressing that if issues were not handled with caution, will definitely get out of hand.

“It is not about Nafisat, it’s not about Musa, it’s about the court. We have still not come over the issue of Endsars but it’s beyond Endsars.

” It’s agitation and if you don’t handle agitation very well, it gets out of hand. There is no country in the world that does not have problems, however, how these countries handle their problems makes the difference.

“I have noted there are lines/Program of activities for the conduct of the election by the ELCOM going on in a matter that is already in court.

“Ideally, that a matter is already in court is enough for parties involved to put things on hold even without given an order.

“I can’t sit here and be doing nonsense. Counsel must undertake that everything must be put on hold and maintain the status quo because justice is for all”.

Counsel for the Plaintiffs suggested that he and his learned friend for the Defendants be given time to go back to their clients and educate them on the need to maintain the status quo in other to continue the matter in court. Having agreed on this suggestion by the Defendants counsel, the matter was adjourned until November 16, 2020, for hearing. Parties were also urged to maintain the status quo.

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