The Appeal Court in Abuja has sacked Plateau State Governor, Caleb Mutfwang. Lead Justice Elfrieda Williams-Dawodu’s ruling on Sunday directs the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to grant a Certificate of Return to the All Progressive Congress candidate, Nentawe Goshwe.
The court overturned the Tribunal’s decision affirming Governor Mutfwang’s election, deeming it severely incompetent.
According to the court, the Tribunal’s dismissal of the APC’s petition, claiming they had no right to intervene in the affairs of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), contradicted constitutional provisions. The court highlighted that the issues raised were both pre-election and post-election matters, not subject to status bar.
Citing constitutional violations, the panel pointed out that Mutfwang wasn’t properly sponsored by the PDP as required by Section 177 of the Constitution. The court deemed the party’s congress in violation of a court order, making it null and void.
The court also emphasized that qualification is a matter both before and after an election, unlike the Tribunal’s ruling, which stated otherwise. Underlining the Electoral Act, the court affirmed a party’s exclusive right to sponsor a candidate meeting the necessary criteria.
By invoking the Electoral Act, the court instructed INEC to revoke Mutfwang’s certificate of return and issue a new one to Goshwe. Justice Okon Abang supported the judgment, suggesting that unless the PDP resolved its Plateau State issues, it would face ongoing problems.
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