The Court of Appeal in Abuja has delivered a groundbreaking verdict, nullifying the election of Governor Caleb Muftwang in Plateau State. A three-member panel, in a unanimous decision on Sunday, declared that Muftwang was not validly sponsored by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as mandated by Section 285(2) of the Nigerian Constitution.
The panel, presiding over the appeal brought by Nentawe Goshwe of the All Progressives Congress (APC), ruled in favor of Goshwe, asserting that the issue of qualification was both a pre and post-election matter under Section 177(c) of the Nigerian Constitution, 1999, and Sections 80 and 82 of the Electoral Act, 2022.
In a significant decision, the panel concurred with the appellant (Goshwe) on the failure of the PDP to comply with court orders directing the conduct of valid ward, local governments, and state congresses before nominating candidates. These orders were issued by the Plateau State High Court in Jos (suit no: PLD/J304/2020) and the Court of Appeal (order in CA/J1/93/2021).
Citing a breach of the law, the panel set aside the judgment of the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal, deeming it “highly inconsistent and a breach of fair hearing” for relying on expunged witnesses’ statements to reject Goshwe’s appeal.
In a consequential move, the panel directed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to revoke the certificate of return issued to Muftwang and issue a fresh one to Nentawe Goshwe, the APC candidate.