The Appeal Court sitting in Abuja on Sunday, November 19, nullified the election of Caleb Mutfwang as the Governor of Plateau State.
In a unanimous judgement led by Justice Okong Abang, the Appellate court ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission to withdraw his Certificate of Return and give it to the All-Progress Congress Govenroship candidate, Nentawe Yiltwatda.
The judgement comes after the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal earlier sitting in Jos, dismissed Nentawe’s petition challenging Governor Mutwang’s declaration as the duly elected governor of Plateau state.
The Appeal Court on Sunday ruled that “The Tribunal was in error when it said the appellants lacked the right to contest the conduct of the election.
Justice Williams-Dawodu set aside the judgment of the Tribunal which affirmed the election of Governor Mutfwang, describing it as highly incompetent.
According to the court, the decision of the tribunal to dismiss the petition filed by the APC and its candidate on the ground that the duo had no business meddling in the affairs of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) on which platform Mutfwang was elected is in breach of Section 177 of the 1999 Constitution as amended and Section 134 (C) of the Electoral Act.
The court also held that contrary to the decision of the tribunal that the issues contained in the petition filed by the appellants were pre-election matters, they were both pre-election and post-election matters and could not have been deemed status barred.
Citing section 177 of the Constitution, the panel noted that Mutfwang was not validly sponsored by the PDP during the election.
It held that the party violated the court order that a valid congress be conducted in the 17 local government areas of that state, by conducting congress in only five local government areas of the state, and as such is a nullity.