The Court of Appeal in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, has ruled against Nigeria’s main opposition party, PDP, sacking the Plateau State Governor, Caleb Muftwang.
In a unanimous decision on Sunday, a three-member panel of the Court of Appeal held that Governor Caleb Muftwang was not validly sponsored by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as stipulated by Section 285(2) of the Nigerian Constitution.
The panel determined that the appeal filed by Nentawe Goshwe of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was successful. It held that the matter of qualification was both a pre and post-election issue, falling under Section 177(c) of the Nigerian Constitution, 1999, and Section 80 and 82 of the Electoral Act, 2022.
The panel concurred with the appellant (Goshwe) that the PDP’s non-compliance with the Plateau State High Court order in suit no: PLD/J304/2020 and the Court of Appeal order in CA/J1/93/2021, which directed the party to conduct valid ward, local governments, and state congresses before nominating candidates for elective posts, constituted a breach of the law.
Consequently, the panel overturned the judgment of the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal, citing it as “highly inconsistent and a breach of fair hearing” for relying on expunged witnesses’ statements to reject Goshwe’s appeal.
The panel directed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to withdraw the certificate of return previously issued to Muftwang and instructed the issuance of a new one to Goshwe.