The Appeal Court in Abuja on Sunday sacked the Plateau State Governor, Caleb Mutfwang of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
The verdict was passed in an appeal filed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate, Nentawe Goshwe, challenging the declaration of Mutfwang of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) as the winner of the March 18, 2023 election.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Mutfwang winner with 525,299 votes, while Goshwe was credited with 481,370 votes.
Goshwe subsequently petitioned the election tribunal, alleging irregularities in the conduct of the PDP primaries and seeking to nullify Mutfwang’s election.
However, the Tribunal dismissed the petition, ruling that it lacked merit because PDP’s congress was an internal party affair.
Undeterred, Goshwe appealed the Tribunal’s decision to the Appeal Court, requesting that the Tribunal’s judgment be overturned.
The APC’s legal team argued that Mutfwang’s candidacy was invalid due to flaws in PDP’s primaries.
However, Mutfwang’s lawyers countered that APC’s claims were unsubstantiated and lacked merit.
But on Sunday, a three-member panel of the Appeal Court, led by Justice Elfrieda Williams-Dawodu, said the Tribunal’s decision was contrary to the provisions of the Electoral Act and relevant laws regarding jurisdiction, membership and sponsorship by a political party.
Williams-Dawodu held there was no evidence that the PDP complied with a subsisting High Court order which had directed it to conduct a valid party congress prior to its sponsorship of the governorship and other candidates.
The appeal court held that the issue was not about nomination or sponsorship but disobedience to a subsisting court order which had not been set aside.
Williams-Dawodu said the Tribunal was “highly inconsistent,” and “perversely” dismissed the petition against the governor following the invalid state congress of the PDP.
For that reason, he declared that the judgment of the Tribunal affirming the election of governor Caleb “stands to be set aside.”
“The appeal is hereby allowed. The issue is resolved in favour of the appellants,” the judge held while ordering that the APC candidate be returned as governor.
“The first petitioner (appellant) is perfectly entitled to be returned as governor. INEC is directed to withdraw the certificate of return from Caleb,” the court held.
Our source reports that the appeal court had sacked four PDP lawmakers from Plateau State for emerging from the invalid party congress in contravention of a subsisting order of court.
Source: The Whistler