Barrister Gyang Zi, a Legal Luminary and the Plateau Northern Senatorial Zone Candidate of the Labour Party (LP) who came second in the February 25th, 2023 Presidential and National Assembly Election expresses confidence of representing the zone after Appeal Court Judgement soon.
Barr. Zi revealed that Plateau PDP know the truth that they had no structure to sponsor a candidate for any position in the 2023 General Elections.
He made this declaration in an exclusive interview he granted to the Group Managing Editor of News Parrot Newspaper and Online,Hon Daniel Kura recently.
Please enjoy the excerpts:
Sir for the benefit of our readers can you briefly introduce yourself?
Okay, my name is Gyang Zi, a Legal Practitioner by profession and I contested for the position Senator to represent the people of Northern Senatorial Zone of Plateau State under the platform of the Labour Party in the election that took place on the 25th February 2023.
I actually came 2nd in the Election, but I was desatisfied with the outcome of the election, and I therefore proceeded to the Election Petition Tribunal to challenge the same.
Sir, the panel two of the National and State Assembly Election Petition Tribunal threw out your petition for lacking in merit, while the panel one of the same National and State Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sacked PDP candidates for lack of structure, using the same ground which you also challenge the candidate of the PDP in your Petition.
How can you correlate on the conflicting decisions of the two Panels of the Tribunal.
Barr. Zi- As far as am concern and as far as the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is also concern, the decision of Panel one headed by Hon. Justice M.B Tukur is the perfect decision because they followed the Judgements of Superior Courts on the subject matter.
The Judgement in my petition, I don’t know where the Judges in Panel 2 got the god’s to deliver that kind of Judgement, setting aside Judgements of Court of Appeal and Supreme Court on the subject matter.
So as far as am concern, the proper Judgement is the one delivered by panel; holding that that PDP do not have structure in Plateau State to sponsor candidates for the 2023 General Elections because PDP actually do not have structure in the State.
I left PDP because they don’t have structure, there were about seven Judgements all against the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Plateau State before the General Election.
The first Judgement is that of Honourable Justice S .P Gang, which took place immediately after the PDP congresses conducted in 2020.
A faction of the People’s Democratic Party went to Court challenging the outcome of the congresses on the ground that it does not follow the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and that of the PDP.
And the Court agreed with those who approached the Court and set aside the congresses and directed that the PDP should conduct fresh congresses Democratically in accordance with provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and that of People’s Democratic Party PDP
The PDP failed to adhere to the directive of the Court and decided to put in a caretaker committee. They however refused to adhere to the directives of the Court but decided to put in a caretaker committee.
There was a Local Government Council Election that took place on the Plateau in 2021
A petition was written to the Plateau State Independent Electoral Commission (PLASIEC) that they should exclude the PDP from participating in the Local Government Election for failure to obey the Judgement and Orders of Court.
PLASIEC agreed and excluded the PDP from participating in the election for failure to obey the directive of the Court.
What happened? The PDP now went to Court and challenged PLASIEC for excluding them from participating in that Local Government Election.
Hon. Justice I. I Kunda handled that case, and he held that based on the Judgement of Hon.Justice S.P. Gang, which they are yet to comply with, PLASIEC was right to exclude them from participating in the Local Government Election.
They ran to Court of Appeal to challenge that decision, Court of Appeal agreed with the decision of Hon.Justice I.I Kunda and said the PDP are in disobedience to Court Order and when anyone is in disobedience of Court Order he cannot approach the same Court for any relief.
They Appealed to the Supreme Court and abandoned the Appeal.
Next was a bye election in Jos North, Bassa Federal Constituency after the death of Late Hon. Maitala in 2022.
What happened after the bye election? PDP was declared as winner of that Election, PRP who came second in the Election went to the Tribunal challenging the outcome of the by- Election in 2022 on a major ground that PDP have no valid structure in Plateau State to Sponsor a Candidate for Election.
PDP did not come out to say they have complied with the Order of Court , but said it is a pre-election matter simpliciter.
The Election Petition Tribunal held that it is not a pre election matter, but a threshold issue and because of that the Election Petition Tribunal set aside the votes won by Musa Agah of the People’s Democratic Party and ordered INEC to issue Certificate of Return to the candidate of the PRP.
The PDP ran to the Court of Appeal, and the Court of Appeal said well, this is very glaring you have refused to comply with the Order of Court, and if you refused to comply with the Order of Court, we cannot do anything.
The Court of Appeal agreed with the Election Petition Tribunal, and sacked Musa Agah of the PDP, the PRP candidate sworn in as member Representing Jos North Bassa Federal Constituency to complete the tenure of Late Hon. Maitala.
In 2023, when the PDP discovered that we started raising the issues of non compliance they rant back to Supreme Court transmitted Records to Supreme Court in the case of PDP vs PLASIEC so that the Supreme Court can change the decision but it was too late.
After doing that, they still abandoned the case and the Supreme Court dismissed the Appeal on the 7th December, 2022
After the 2023 General Election, the PDP brought a document to say they have complied with the order of the Court.
The question is why didn’t PDP inform the Court and present the said Report in the case of Musa Agah in 2022?
Secondly, the PDP said 12 Local Governments were excluded from the said Congress which according to them took place on the 25th September, 2021.
Out of 17 Local Governments you excluded 12 Local Governments council from your congress can you say you actually complied with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and there’s substantial compliance?
They were also relying on a certain pre-election matter where the Federal High Court Jos Division declined Jurisdiction ( Augustine Timkuk vs PDP and Ors.)
The court declined Jurisdiction both at the Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal and the law is very clear that once a Court declines jurisdiction over a matter, whatever the Court says thereafter becomes a nullity and that’s the Position of the Law.
Let me tell you the truth, they are the people following Judges, there is no Political Party on the Plateau that is following Judges apart from the People’s Democratic Party.
And after the Judgements against them by Panel one they are making noise and insulting the Judiciary; when Judgement was delivered against me on the 24 of August 2023, did I come out to make any noise, did I come out insult any anybody, did come out to say they were giving money by the PDP?
I also had my own reservation on the Judgement against me, why the rush?
My petition was not even close to elapsing, the Petition ordinarily would have elapse on the 14 of September 2023, but Panel 2 quickly delivered the Judgement on the 24th of August in handwritten and even when we applied for the Judgement to be made available to us, they never made the copy available until close to a week.
But you saw it , the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal after delivering it’s Judgement, they made it available to every Nigerian in less than 24 hours; that Judgement was close to 800 pages.
Going by the PDP ‘s conduct , I supposed to have come out and cry faults, I supposed to have call judges names but I cannot do that because I believe in the Judiciary and I am confident that whatever error commited by the Lower Tribunal will be corrected on Appeal.
In summary, this is what I can tell you about the Judgements as a Lawyer, there is what we call judicial precedence, our Courts are ranked.
A Magistrate Court cannot disobey the judgement of a High Court, a High Court can not set aside or disobey the judgement of Appeal Court and also Court of Appeal cannot go contrary to the decision of the Supreme Court. That’s the hierarchy of Courts in Nigeria but what my own panel did was to set aside judgements of Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.
So if there is anybody that need to criticize or cast aspersions on the Judiciary, it should me but I can not do that because we need to build our Institutions very well and that can only be achieved when we respect and protect the institutions irrespective of the actions of the persons in those institutions.
We have two ways to handle this issues, one is to go on Appeal or to write a petition against the judges to the National Judicial Commission (NJC) but not to come on Media, insulting the judges and ranting.
The Panel one delivered its Judgement accordance to the law.
Sir, how will you describe the press releases from the PDP claiming that there will be crisis if the Judgements turns out not to be in their favor?
Barr. Zi -That’s inciting, and if anything goes wrong, the Law Enforcement Agencies should go for the heads of the Leaders in PDP.
I learnt that General Bali, on Arise TV, Hon. Beni Lar on Channels and AIT as well as the PDP Chairman Hon. Chris Hassan made inciting comments and are already mobilizing people to come out for protest. Well, I am sure the Law enforcement agencies are waiting for them
So if you ask me, I will say the law enforcement agencies should arrest them and charge them for inciting public disturbance.
They are actually the cause of crisis in Plateau and I can give you example, over the years even when I was in the PDP, the leadership in PDP try to make the followers to believe they are victims, but in truth I discovered that the leadership in the PDP are the real causes of the crisis.
Let me give you example, when you give false information or you exaggerate situation, it make your people to become over agitated, you also cause apprehension to your opponent and when you cause apprehension in your opponents you don’t know the extent to which your your opponent can go to make sure they defend themselves.
So as a leader, you have a responsibility to be truthful to your followers.
Lastly what will be your call to the people of Plateau State most especially the Political class?
Barr. Zi- my call to the people of Plateau State is for them to remain calm, let us await the Judgements of the Tribunals and irrespective of the outcome of the judgements, we accept it in good faith, just the way I accepted mine in good faith and not to overheat the already very tensed Polity.