HomePoliticsAppeal Court Nullifies Plateau Governor's Election Amidst Controversy

Appeal Court Nullifies Plateau Governor’s Election Amidst Controversy

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In a stunning turn of events, the Court of Appeal in Abuja has invalidated the election of Governor Caleb Mutfwang of Plateau State. The three-member panel of Justices ruled unanimously that Mutfwang was not properly nominated and sponsored by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for the gubernatorial contest held on March 18.

The court declared that all votes attributed to Mutfwang and the PDP were deemed wasted, leading to the withdrawal of the Certificate of Return previously issued by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The second-place candidate with the majority lawful votes is slated to be sworn in as the new governor.

This decision follows an appeal filed by the All-Progressive Congress (APC) governorship candidate, Mr. Nentawe Goshwe, dissatisfied with the INEC declaration that Mutfwang won with 525,299 votes against Goshwe’s 481,370 votes.

Goshwe had initially challenged the election outcome at the Plateau State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, which dismissed his petition as lacking merit. Undeterred, Goshwe took the case to the Court of Appeal, reiterating his argument that the PDP lacked the political structure to validly nominate a candidate and that Mutfwang’s victory did not align with the Electoral Act.

Governor Mutfwang’s defense emphasized that the nomination and sponsorship of a candidate were internal party matters beyond the court’s jurisdiction. Chief Kanu Agabi, SAN, representing the governor, asserted that Goshwe lacked the standing to question another party’s candidate’s nomination.

The Court of Appeal, led by Justice Elfrieda Williams-Dawodu, ultimately upheld Goshwe’s appeal, nullifying Mutfwang’s election. The decision echoes a prior ruling by the same appellate court panel on November 7, which unseated a Senator and three House of Representatives members from the state, citing the PDP’s failure to comply with a court order to conduct congress in all 17 Local Government Areas.

As Plateau State awaits the appointment of a new governor, the developments raise questions about political structures and adherence to electoral processes. The controversy surrounding PDP’s compliance with court orders adds a layer of complexity to an already tumultuous political landscape.

Source: Vanguard

 

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