From Gyang Bere, Jos
The Federal High Court sitting in Jos has transferred the suit seeking to establish the validity of the governorship candidate of Labour Party in Plateau State to Federal High Court Abuja for determination.
The presiding judge, Justice VD Agishi, informed counsels to the plaintiff and defendants on Wednesday of a directive by the Chief Judge of Federal High Court that all cases involving the double nomination of candidates should be transferred to the headquarters.
Justice Agishi vacated the 96 hours earlier given to the defendants – Labour Party, Dr Patrick Dakum and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) – to show cause why they cannot be restrained from substituting the Plaintiff, Amb Yohanna Margif, as the valid elected Governorship Candidate Labour Party for the 2023 election.
The judge transferred the case to the Federal High Court Abuja based on the instruction of the Chief judge for determination.
Amb Margif, the validly nominated governorship candidate of the party, had approached the Court to obtain an interlocutory Injunction to restrain Dr Patrick Dakum, Labour Party and INEC from substituting him unlawfully as the candidate of the party.
The court had refused to grant the request based on a purported withdrawal letter in circulation on social media and ordered the defendants to appear within 96 hours to explain why the restraint order should not be granted.
Reacting to the transfer of the suit, Chief Kutu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria SAN and Counsel to the Second Defendant, Dr Patrick Dakum who spoke to reporters disagreed with the issue of double Nomination of candidates and expressed readiness to appear in Abuja whenever he is served.
Meanwhile, M. b Abdullahi, Counsel to the Plaintiff, Amb. Yohanna Margif said his client has never sworn an affidavit for his withdrawal as the Candidate of the party.
“We had approached the court for An order for an interim injunction restraining the 1st Defendant whether by itself, its agents, privies or assigns or any other person acting through it, or howsoever from taking any action or process or further action or process for changing or substituting the plaintiff as the validly nominated candidate of the 1st defendant for the seat of Governor of Plateau State based on the purported letter of withdrawal, notice affidavit or any other document whatsoever not written or signed by the plaintiff or personally delivered by the plaintiff to the 1st defendant pending the hearing and determination of the plaintiff’s motion on Notice for an interlocutory injunction”.
Also, Counsel to Labour Party, C.K. Fwana kicked against the transfer of the case to Abuja and said he was not satisfied with the development.
Recalled that the Plateau state chapter of the Labour Party had on June 9, 2022, conducted its primary election which led to the emergence of Yohana Margif as Governorship Candidate of the Party and a Certificate of return was presented to him by the National Chairman of the Party, Julius Abure.
However, in a dramatic twist of event, the party conducted another primary election on August 5, in Jos amidst controversy and reported that Yohana Margif had resigned which produced Dr Patrick Dakum as the new Candidate of the Party in Plateau.