Court reinstates Mutfwang as Plateau governor

THE Supreme Court has reinstated Caleb Mutfwang as Governor of Plateau state.

In a ruling on Friday, January 12, a five-man panel of justices of the court, led by Emmanuel Agim, reversed the judgment of the Appeal Court that sacked Mutfwang as governor.

The court ruled that the validity of nomination and sponsorship were not grounds to make an election void.

Agim also stated that the Appeal Court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the case.

According to the court, the All Progressives Congress (APC), the Plateau state Election Petition Tribunal election tribunal, and the Court of Appeal could not interfere in the internal affairs of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the platform on which Mutfwang became governor.

He urged the judiciary to be more cautious in its rulings to avoid causing the people undue hardships resulting from wrong judgments.

Mutfwang had polled 525,299 votes, while the candidate of the APC, Nentawe Yilwatda, won 481,370 votes in the state’s March 18 2023 governorship election.

Dissatisfied, Yilwatda and APC filed a petition challenging the outcome of the election.






     

     

    Delivering judgment, the tribunal led by Rita Irele-Ifijeh, held that the issues raised by the petitioners on party structure were pre-election matters, noting that Yilwatda and APC lacked the locus standi to challenge it.

    The tribunal also held that PDP held a repeat congress on September 25, 2021, in compliance with the order of a Jos High Court delivered by a judge, S.P. Gang.

    However, the APC filed an appeal against the ruling. In her ruling on Sunday, November 19, 2023, the lead justice, Elfrieda Williams-Dawodu, set aside the tribunal’s judgment, describing it as “highly incompetent”.

    Mutfwang was sacked following the ruling by the Appeal Court.

    Ijeoma Opara is a journalist with The ICIR. Reach her via [email protected] or @ije_le on Twitter.

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