BREAKING: Court of Appeal Sacks Plateau Governor, Declares APC Candidate Winner
The Court of Appeal in Abuja has overturned the election of Caleb Muftwang as the governor of Plateau State and declared Nentawe Goshwe of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the rightful winner.
The court, in a unanimous judgement delivered by a three-man panel on Sunday, ruled that Muftwang was not duly nominated by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in accordance with Section 285(2) of the Nigerian Constitution.
The court upheld the appeal filed by Goshwe, who challenged the eligibility of Muftwang as the PDP candidate.
The court held that the issue of qualification was a pre and post-election matter that could be determined by Section 177(c) of the Nigerian Constitution and Sections 80 and 82 of the Electoral Act, 2022.
The court agreed with Goshwe that the PDP failed to obey the order of the Plateau State High Court in Jos in suit no: PLD/J304/2020, which directed the party to conduct valid ward, local government and state congresses before nominating its candidates for the various elective posts. The court also noted that the PDP did not comply with the order of the Court of Appeal in CA/J1/93/2021, which affirmed the lower court’s order.
The court, therefore, set aside the verdict of the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal, which dismissed Goshwe’s petition for being incompetent and lacking merit. The court faulted the tribunal for relying on expunged witnesses’ statements to reject Goshwe’s appeal and said the tribunal’s judgement was “highly inconsistent and breach of fair hearing”.
The court ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to withdraw the certificate of return issued to Muftwang and issue a fresh one to Goshwe. The court also awarded N500,000 as cost in favour of Goshwe.