A Jos High Court yesterday threw out suit filed by the All Progressives Congress, APC, against the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, for failure to affix stamp and seal, and for abuse of court processes.
The APC and its leadership had sued Plateau State Independent Electoral Commission, PLASIEC, before Justice Lonji of State High Court, Bukuru-Jos, challenging its competence to have conducted the February 25, 2014, local government polls.
But Justice Lonji declared that APC’s failure to obtain stamp and seal of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, abused the process and so denied him the opportunity to entertain the case in his court.
APC had through its counsel, Mr. Tonny Agaga, asked the court to determine whether leadership of PLASIEC, the chairman and members of the commission, who at the time of their appointment were alleged PDP card carrying members, by reason of their disqualification, could lawfully occupy and discharge the function of their offices.
“My Lord, we submit that PLASIEC is not legally and properly constituted and what it did on the Feb. 25, 2014, was a void election and the 14 elected council chairmen cannot benefit from an election that was ab-initio void, “Agaga argued.
But counsels to PLASIEC, sacked 14 council chairmen and PDP, Messers Ben Choj, Philemon Dafi and Gyang Zi in their submissions strongly challenged the competence of the case, and right of the plaintiff’s counsel to be heard by the court.
“No counsel has the right of audience before any competent court of law as long as the case has not been stamped and sealed by NBA as required by law,” Dafi had argued.
Citing the Supreme Court ruling in the case between APC and Bello Sarkin Yaki, Dafi said “affixing stamp and seal, which has not been done by the plaintiff, rendered Agaga unworthy of the rights of audience in this matter and in this court.”
Consequently, Justice Longji said in respect to the Supreme Court decision on the issue of stamp and seal, which the plaintiff had failed to comply with, he could not entertain or hear the case.
“Having looked at the argument put before me by the counsels of the plaintiff and defendants in this case, the plaintiff’s counsel lacks right of audience in this matter and in this court; accordingly, the case is hereby struck out,” Longji declared.
Speaking to newsmen shortly after the ruling, Dafi described it as “very correct and true,” and commended the judge for delivering a “well thought ruling.”

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