From Jude Owuamanam, Jos
There was jubilation in the camp of the opposition All Progressives Congress APC in Jos, the Plateau state capital, as the Appeal Court nullified the election of Governor Caleb Mutfwang.
The Court directed the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC to withdraw Mutfwang’s certificate of return and issue a new one to the APC candidate, Yilwatda Nentawe Goshwe.
Goshwe had appealed against the judgment of the Plateau State Governorship and State Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal, which ruled against the petition brought by Goshwe against Mutfwang’s election.
Goshwe has dedicated his victory to the Almighty God and the People of the State.
Reacting to the outcome of his Appeal, Goshwe in a statement through his spokesman Shittu Bamaiyi, expressed heartfelt appreciation for the divine intervention from the beginning to the end of the litigation process at the Court of Appeal.
According to him, the Court of Appeal’s judgement is humbling and uplifting in many respects, particularly as it concerns his person and deputy, Pam Bot-Mang as well as the entire APC family.
Nentawe stated that the Court’s decision is fulfilling and rewarding in APC family’s dogged commitment in achieving its mission and vision for the State.
He noted that it is reassuring and inspiring, the overwhelming as well as the unwavering faith the APC supporters have in the rule of law, adding that their labour will not go in vain.
Nentawe commended the Justices of the Court of Appeal for the unanimity of opinion in the judgement delivered.
While calling on his party’s supporters to exercise restrain and maturity in celebrating the outcome of the appeal, Nentawe showered a lot encomiums on his lawyers, such as the lead counsel, Professor Kayode Olatokun, Edward Pwajok SAN, Yakubu Ruba SAN, Mathew Bukaah SAN, Professor Theodore Maiyaki SAN, Sunday Obende and Sam Abah for the delligent prosecution of the Appeal.
The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja had on Sunday sacked Caleb Muftwang of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP as governor of Plateau State.
A three-member of the appellate court, in a unanimous decision, dismissed the decision of the Plateau State Governorship and State Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal, insisting that Muftwang was not validly sponsored by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as provided by Section 285(2) of the Nigerian Constitution.
The appellate court was of the opinion that the appeal brought by Nentawe Yilwatda Goshwe of the All Progressives Congress (APC) succeeds due to the fact that the issue of qualification was both a pre and post election matter as provided under Section 177(c) of the Nigerian Constution,1999 and Section 80 and 82 of the Electoral Act, 2022.
The panel agreed with the appellant (Yilwatda) that the failure of the PDP was in breach of the law when it failed to comply with the order of the Justice Gang of the Plateau State High Court in Jos in suit no: PLD/J304/2020 between Bitrus B. Kaze & 11 ors vs the Peoples Democratic Party & 24 ors directing it to conduct valid ward, local governments and state congresses before nominating its candidates for the various elective posts and the Court of Appeal order in CA/J1/93/2021 was a breach of the law.
In setting aside the judgement of the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal, the appeal court said it’s “highly inconsistent and breach of fair hearing by relying on expunged witnesses’ statements to refuse Goshwe’s appeal”.
The panel therefore asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to withdraw the certificate of return issued to Muftwang and issue a fresh one to Goshwe.