The Appeal Court sitting in Abuja on Sunday sacked the Plateau State Governor, Caleb Mutfwang, of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
The appellate court upturned the judgment of the State Elections Petitions Tribunal which affirmed the election of Mutfwang, describing it as highly incompetent.
Summarily, the Justice Elfrieda Williams-Dawodu-led court ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to retrieve the Certificate of Return issued to Mutfwang and issue a fresh one to the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Nentawe Goshwe in line with Section 136 of the Electoral Act.
It declared that the decision of the tribunal to dismiss the petition filed by the APC and its candidate on the grounds that the duo had no business meddling in the affairs of 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 statute barred.
The justices said Mutfwang was not validly sponsored by the PDP during the election, citing section 177 of the Constitution.
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, the appeal court ruled.
Dismissing the tribunal’s judgment, the court held that the issue of qualification is both a pre-election and a post-election matter contrary to the findings of the tribunal which held that the appellant lacked the locus to contest the validity of the Respondent.
The court held that under Section 134 of the Electoral Act, it is the sole right of a political party to sponsor its candidate having met the necessary requirements to do so.