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Langtang North LGA Chairman decry “untimely” removal from office

by Christians Gokyo, Jos

PLATEAU STATE: Following the local government election, which held on the 9th of October 2021, in Plateau State, especially in Langtang North local government area where the tenure of the chairman is due to expire on the 9th of October, 2022, there has been a public outcry that an APC chairman was “fraudulently imposed” on the people during the said election.

The Chairman of Langtang North, Joshua U. Leven, whose tenure has not yet expired, after the (October 2021) election followed due process and took Plateau State Independent Electoral Commission, the Commissioner Ministry for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, the Governor of Plateau State and the Attorney-General of Plateau State to court for removing him before the expiration of his 3 years’ tenure in office.

Our correspondent recalls that, on the 2nd of November, 2021, Justice I.I. Kunda of the Plateau State High Court sitting in Jos, in his judgment said, he (Joshua U. Leven) is entitled to a statutory tenure of three years in office, commencing from the 9th of October, 2019, when he took the Oath Of Allegiance and the Oath Of Office, and is to expire on the 9th of October, 2022.

The Chairman Langtang North was the only the opposition Party Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the state out of the 17 local government chairmen, who went to court after one year of his chairmanship mandate.

Justice Kinda in his judgment said that “The election conducted by the 1st defendant on the 9th October, 2021, to the chairmanship seat of Langtang North Local Government Area is hereby declared a nullity.”

That the claimant, Joshua U. Laven, shall proceed as the Chairman of Langtang North Local Government Area to conclude his three years’ tenure of office, which shall end on the 9th day of October, 2022, having taking his Oath Of Office on the 9th of October, 2019.

Following this development, Hon. Laven said he resumed the office on the 4th peacefully without any problem, but after some few days the office was sealed by the police.

Briefing newsmen in Jos, the LGA Chairman, Hon. Joshua U. Laven, said, “My tenure as the Chairman of Langtang North is due to expire on the 9th October, 2022, as far as I am concerned, because the exercise that was carried out on the 9th of October, 2021, was null and void.

He stressed that, “As I speak, I speak as the Executive Chairman of Langtang North. I have been a law abiding citizen for a very long time. I won election in 2018 long lasting victory where out of 18 wards of Langtang North I won in 17 wards.

“But the governor went ahead and sworn-in an imposter with one ward. I never resolved to violence; I went to the court of content jurisdiction. My mandate was given back to me through the court after one year of battling,” he noted.

He said, PLASIEC knows that, there were no vacuum in Langtang North, but went ahead and advertised the position of the Chairman of Langtang North in the just-concluded ‘shame’ election.

“I never resolved to violence. I went back to where I used to get justices, which is the court; and on November 2nd, the court said there was nothing like election in Langtang North. It was null and void as far as they were concerned, the exercise was waste of public funds, and declared me to go back to my office, which I didn’t need the government to swear me in,” he stated.

Hon. Laven buttressed that, “If anything happens in Langtang North – any outbreak of law and order – the government should be held responsible in the event that violent erupted.

Government deliberately did what they did, and they are calling for option. Iam not going to accept any option; I will go back and complete my mandate.”

While lamenting that, the government are the ones inciting the Tarot Nation to fight against each other, he said, “I don’t think it’s going to be possible. I am a law abiding citizen; I have never gone to take up arms as the only way to get my mandate back.”

Also, the State Chairman of PDP, Hon. Chris Hassan, expressed his “disappointment” over the sealing of the council’s secretariat in Langtang by security agents, despite the court ruling that the council’s chairman, Joshua U. Laven, remains in office until his tenure elapses next year.

The PDP Chairman alleged that, the government are encouraging the breakdown of law and order by his action over the leadership tussle in the State House of Assembly and refusing the Chairman of Langtang North LGA, Joshua U. Laven, from accessing his office, despite court order.

The Plateau State Police Commissioner, Bartholomew Onyeka, had sealed Langtang North Council Secretariat and ordered Ubandoma and Rimven Bitrus Zulfa not to go in.

According to Chris Hassan, “We are aware that six members sat at the Plateau State House of Assembly and impeached a Speaker. Section 92 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, frowns at that. I have held meetings with nine members of the PDP and I have told them the position of the party.

He said, “Today, again, Joshua U. Laven of the PDP won the LG election; he was denied, and went to court and obtained a judgment and was sworn-in one year behind his colleagues.

“The October 9th, 2021, ‘kangaroo’ October 9 elections, the governor declared Langtang North Council Chairman seat vacant, while the chairman still has one year to complete his tenure; but they brought in somebody.

Chris Hassan retorted that, “We went to court and obtained a declarative judgment that affirmed him as the elected chairman of Langtang North, but they are bent on confusion; we know that Joshua Laven remains the Chairman of Langtang North Area until October 9, 2022.

“I want the public to check, who is causing the problem in Plateau State; is it the PDP or APC? Is it the governor or the people? I am told that he is the Number One citizen of this state, and I expect that justice should come from him,” Hon Hassan stated.

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