Ubandoma Vs PLASIEC: Court Adjourns To Entertain Motions.

By Moses Gbande

Justice Ishaku Kunda of State High Court 5, Jos, has again adjourned to a later date for the hearing of the motion on notice brought before it in response to a suit filed by the Executive Chairman of Langtang North Local Government Council of Plateau State, Hon Ubandoma Joshua Laven.

The Chairman is seeking the court to stop the Plateau State Independent Electoral Commission (PLASIEC ), Local Government & Chieftaincy Affairs, Plateau State Governor Simon Bako Lalong, and the Attorney General of the Plateau state from conducting LG polls in Language North scheduled for October, 9th 2021.

When the matter came up for hearing last Friday 6th August, 2021 the claimant Counsel, Niri Darong, told the court that ‘the matter was adjourned today for hearing of motion on notice for the interlocutory injunction served before the defendants, but the Claimant /Applicant was served the previous day, 5th of August,2021 with a motion on notice seeking the matter to be adjourned to a date after court vacation.

Niri explained that, ”we pray the court to entertain this suit after a long filing, but due to the circumstances we are asking for a short date to respond”.

Already, the Chairman of PLASIEC Hon Fibia Ntung Ari has fixed the council polls in October this year for the 17 LG including Langtang North LGA, whose chairman is only in the second year in office of court his mandatory three-year tenure having sworn a year after others in 2019. And the fear is that, should court grant the motion to entertain the matter after court vacation, the prayers of the claimant/applicant would be Defeated.

The Claimant/Applicant, Joshua-Laven, said that his action to dragged, the authorities involved was in pursuance to order 42 and 43 of the Plateau State High Court (civil procedure) rule 2020, section 7 of Constitution of the Federal Government 1999 (as amended) and section 38 of LGA Laws 2016 and section 18 of State Independent Electoral Commission (PLASIEC) 2016.

Joshua-Laven explained that Plateau State, Local Government Council Election Appeal Tribunal declared him to be the duly elected Chairman of Langtang North Local Government Council by its judgment of 19th July 2019 for 3 years tenure but there is a plot to truncate the court process.

He said that PLASIEC then issued him with a Certificate of Return on the 17th October 2019 while Governor Lalong administered the Oath of Allegiance and Oath of Office to him on the 9th October 2019.

“The tenure of the Applicant as Chairman of Langtang North Local Government Council under section 38 of the Plateau State, Local Government Council Law, 2016, is for three (3) years effective from the date he took the Oath of Allegiance and Oath of Office.

“But the Respondents have fixed 9th October 2021 as the date to conduct election into the Office of Chairman of Langtang North Local Government Council, among others.

“If not restrained, the Respondents would truncate the statutory three-year tenure of the Applicant,” Joshua-Laven argued.

Consequently, Joshua-Laven is seeking for “an order of this Honourable Court for an interlocutory injunction restraining the defendants by themselves, their agents, representatives or privies from doing anything or taking steps towards conducting elections into the office of Chairman of Langtang North Local Government Council on 9th October 2021 pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.”

He was also seeking an order of the Court for a mandatory injunction restraining the defendants, their agents, or privies from doing anything or taking any step prejudicial to his Office pending the determination of the substantive suit.

When the case came up for mention before Justice Ishaku Kunda on Friday, adjourned the hearing to the 17th August 2021 for ruling on the motion of injunction.

However, counsel to the defendants Barr. Fidelis.Kaatpo didn’t oppose the application for adjournment sought by the Applicant, Claimant.

You would recall that all the defendants and their Counsels were absent on the first appearance has not been served with the hearing notices.

” My Lord, it’s unfortunate that none of the defendants’ Counsel is in Court today, even though we have served them with our motion on notice,” Darong told the Court

“However the clerk of the court just informed us that the 1st respondent has filed a counter-affidavit in reply to our motion, but that copies were not provided for service on us today,” he explained.

The Judge expressed shock at the flaunting of his earlier order that the hearing notice be attached to the motion on notice served on the Respondents.

Darong then noted that considering the circumstance, the case could not go on and he quickly applied for an adjournment to enable the court to serve them (defendants) with hearing notices.”

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