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Issues on S/Court’s order on Sum Pyem’s stool

PyemChiefdom (formerly Gindiri District of Bauchi Emirate until the 1927’s Provincal re-organization of Northern Nigeria that created Plateau Province) is peopled with about one hundred and fifty thousand (150,000) of the Nigerian population according to the 2006 National Population Census projection and not less than fifteen (15) ethnic groups who later came to live peacefully with this host Pyem Community in the about 332 square miles area of the chiefdom of Mangu Local Government Area.

This chiefdom is originally established as a settlement of purely Pyem people who immigrated from Birnin Tara of Gobir Kingdom between 11th- 17th Century.

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It is one of the earliest settlements on the plateau with an already organized mode of traditional administration which metamorphosed & adapted the Caliphate’s system of administration through the Emir of Bauchi (His Royal Highness Yakubu- the Sarkin Yakin SarkinMusulmi- His Eminence Othman Dan-fodio –R.T.A) over two hundred (200) years ago with BAKWA of the Gadai Ruling clan as the 1st to be crowned on this throne.

Ever since that period, this traditional system of secular administration was embedded in the custom & traditions of the Pyem people and is codified with the subsidiary legislation and deriving force from the Chieftaincy Laws Cap 20, of Northern Nigeria as a graded Chieftaincy of 2nd class status.

Arc. Hudu Ibrahim Manomi as the 17th traditional ruler (SumPyem) in the descending order of this Gadai Ruling House of Pyem Chiefdom was duly selected and uphold in the judgment of 13th April, 2006 by the Plateau state High Court and affirmed/ restored by the Supreme Court’s judgment of 1st February, 2019 which Gov. Lalong defied and refused to obey till date.

As the General Public (particularly people of PyemChiefdom) watches with keen interest, the unfolding development surrounding the  failure to enthrone the duly elected Sum-Pyem of Pyem Chiefdom  by the Plateau State Government, our determination and demand for the truth, justice and adherence to the tenets of rule of law remained resolute, unshaken and undeterred until full justice is done and not seen to be done on this matter.

Since Gov. Simon Lalong and his administration want to be truly vindicated as “a Government of peace, a believer and advocate of rule of law and a bridge-builder” then it should not be economical with the truth in the following:

Why then did Mangu Local Government and Plateau State Government  (who conducted the selection exercise of 17th April, 2004 and were sued as 14th and 15th Defendants at the Trial High Court of Plateau State, the 14th and 15th Respondents at the Court of Appeal and later the 3rd and 4th Respondents at the Supreme Court before switching sides) in 2006 refused to complete their statutory functions/duties of approving/installing Arc. Hudu Ibrahim Manomi as the duly elected Sum-Pyem  of Pyem Chiefdom  but hurriedly conducted another purported selection exercise of 26th November, 2013 and went ahead to approved/installed Mr. Charles MatoDakat unto the Sum-Pyem Throne in question during the pendency of an Appeal with Number SC/178/2012, then pending at the Supreme Court and despite been served, acknowledged/endorsed same service (on the 6th November, 2013) with a Motion on Notice for an Order of Interlocutory Injunction restraining such conduct..?

On seeing the implications/consequences of their actions, both the Mangu Local Government  Council and the Plateau State Government  coerced some of the Traditional selectors (King-makers) through their “agents” into a volte-face in order to frustrate the pending Appeal before the Supreme Court (SC/178/2012) and get a lee-way to escape/justify the un-holy selection exercise of the 26th November 2013 followed by the various antics of frivolous applications (which did not sail through) at the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court took Judicial Notice of all these in the Records before it but waited to knock its hammer of authority in its Judgment of 1st February, 2019 by setting-aside the judgments of the lower (Appeal) Court which the selection exercise of 26th November, 2013 was solely predicated/relied upon. Please let the Gov. Lalong explain on what platform did such selection exercise stood/hang on when there has been no vacancy in the Stool of Sum-Pyemsince the Selection of Arc.Hudu Ibrahim Manomi…?

It is evidently clear that order two (2) has successfully taken care of reliefs one (1) and three (3) dove-tailed together. Meaning there was not even a vacancy to warrant the conduct of 26th November 2013 when the said Appeal SC/178/2012 was not yet withdrawn till November 2014.

The Judgment of the High Court restored by the Supreme Court (conceded/admitted by both the Mangu Local Government Council and the Plateau State Government) in order Three (3) affirmed the incontestable and incontrovertible facts that Arc. Hudu Ibrahim Manomi is the One and Only duly elected Sum-Pyemof Pyem Chiefdom since 2004 till date and therefore, reliefs two (2) and four (4) are carefully dove-tailed together too.

If Plateau State Government  wants us and the General Public to take them serious and believe that they adhere strictly to the tenets of rule of law as claimed, that the Judgment of the Supreme Court of 1st  February, 2019 is just but a “mere declaratory judgment”, then, can they equally avail us with the facts of any “executory judgment” of 26th January, 2012 with a “mandatory order” upon which basis, the Government  of Plateau State or anyone else for that matter was mandated  to conduct another selection exercise in respect to the stool of Sum-Pyem  of Pyem Chiefdom  even with the pendency of an Appeal at the Supreme Court and who even sort for such relief before any competent Court of Law?

Rule of law is total and NOT about selective Justice. Therefore, we enjoin and urge Governor Simon Bako Lalong to truly “be the Governor to all Citizens of the State inFact and in Deed irrespective of Tribe or Creed”.

As a Lawyer, a sitting Governor, and the Chairman, Northern Governor’s Forum, with all the sustainable peace initiatives of his administration (particularly through the Plateau Peace building Agency headed by Lengmang), the many accolades and awards and even chieftaincy titles earned/received for restoring, building and sustaining peace initiatives on the Plateau and beyond appears ironical and will amount to nothing so long as Gov. Lalong allows himself to be used in destroying all these positive strides and footings of hope by displaying this kind of brazen official impunity and injustice on this chieftaincy matter of Sumpyem just to satisfy some people’s “interest”.

Mal. Awwal Haruna Ma’aji writes from Gindiri, Plateau state.

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