In a live appearance on Channels Television’s Politics Today on November 20, 2023, Daniel Bwala, a prominent figure within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), voiced strong criticism against the recent appellate court ruling that removed Governor Caleb Mutfwang of Plateau State from office.
Bwala expressed his discontent, stating, “We have never seen where an election was invalidated on the ground that somebody disobeyed a court order.” His remarks were part of the ongoing discussion on Channels Television’s Politics Today program.
Governor Mutfwang, according to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), secured victory with 525,299 votes in the March poll, surpassing 17 other candidates, including Nentawe Goshwe of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who scored 481,370.
The Plateau State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal had previously affirmed Mutfwang’s election in September. However, a recent appellate court decision overturned this, compelling INEC to issue a Certificate of Return to Goshwe. The court’s rationale was that the PDP had violated a court order mandating a valid congress in all 17 local government areas of the state.
Despite being a lawyer, Bwala argued against the election’s annulment based on a court order concerning party congresses. He emphasized, “If you look at the grounds in section 134, disobedience to court order was not there. Now, the court can say disobedience to court order was a consequence of not conducting the primary.”
Encouraging the people of Plateau to remain hopeful, Bwala suggested, “Our eyes are now fixated on Ebonyi because if this goes this way, then we have every reason to believe that it will go in the favor of PDP.”
The appellate court’s recent decisions have also affected governors from other opposition parties. Three governors, including Abba Yusuf of the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP) and PDP’s Dauda Lawal, faced similar outcomes. All three governors intend to seek redress in the Supreme Court.