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Appeal Court sacks Plateau Gov, hands victory to APC candidate

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The court held that Governor Mutfwang was not validly sponsored by his party, PDP.

The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has nullified the victory of Plateau State Governor Caleb Mutfwang in the March 18, 2023, governorship election.

In a judgement delivered by a three-member panel on Sunday, November 19, 2023, the appellate court set aside the decision of the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal that affirmed Muftwang’s victory.

Running on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Governor scored 525,299 votes to defeat his challenger in the All Progressives Congress (APC), Nentawe Goshwe Yilwatda, who polled 481,370 votes.

However, the APC candidate challenged Mutfwang’s victory at the tribunal, claiming that the governor was not validly nominated and spored by his party. Goshwe also alleged non-compliance with the Electoral Act in the election.

But a three-member panel of the tribunal, headed by Justice R. Irele-Ifijeh, unanimously struck out his petition for lacking in merit.

Displeased with the judgement, the APC candidate approached the Appeal Court for a redress.

In its judgement on Sunday, the three-member panel of the Court of Appeal led by Justice Elfrieda Williams-Dawodu held that Governor Mutfwang was not validly sponsored by the PDP as provided by Section 285(2) of the Nigerian Constitution.

The panel also agreed with the APC candidate’s argument on the issue of qualification, ruling that the subject was both a pre and post-election matter under Section 177(c) of the Nigerian Constitution, 1999, as well as Sections 80 and 82 of the Electoral Act, 2022.

The judgement also held that the PDP violated a Plateau State High Court order directing it to conduct a valid congress in 17 local government areas of the state before nominating candidates for various elective positions.


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