THE Abuja division of the Court of Appeal on Sunday sacked Plateau State Governor, Mutfwang Manasseh of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
It ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to recognise Nentawe Goshwe of the All Progressives Congress, APC, as the validly elected governor in the March 18 governorship election.
Justice Elfrieda Williams-Dawodu, who led a three-man panel while delivering the lead judgment, cited section 177 of the Constitution, noting that Manasseh was not a validly sponsored candidate by the PDP during the election.
The panel held that 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 5 local government areas of the state, and as such is a nullity.
The court while dismissing the decision of Plateau State tribunal, 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’s nomination.
The court also noted 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.
While evoking section 136 of the Electoral Act, the court ordered the INEC to retrieve the certificate of return issued to Governor Manasseh and issue a fresh certificate of return to Goshwe.
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