The Court of Appeal in Abuja has deferred judgement in the appeal filed by Nentawe Goshwe, the All Progressive Congress governorship candidate in Plateau State, disputing Caleb Mutfwang’s victory.
Mutfwang of the Peoples Democratic Party received 525,299 votes, while Goshwe received 481,370 votes in the state’s governorship election on March 18.
Goshwe filed an electoral petition against Mutfwang, arguing that the governor was not duly nominated and sponsored by his party.
He further claimed that Mutfwang’s election was not carried out in accordance with the electoral statute, and that Mutfwang did not receive the majority of valid votes cast during the election.
However, a three-member tribunal panel led by Justice R. Irele-Ifijeh unanimously dismissed the plea for lack of merit.
The APC candidate appealed the tribunal’s decision because he was dissatisfied with it.
He maintained that the governor was unable to run in the election since he was not legitimately endorsed and nominated by a political party.
He claimed that the PDP lacked structure and was unqualified to run candidates in elections.
In his notice of appeal, the APC candidate further stated that there was over-voting and non-compliance with the 2022 Electoral Act during the state’s governorship election in 2023.
Prof. Olagoke, SAN, the lead counsel for the appellants, told the court on Saturday that Mutfwang was not qualified to fight the election due to a lack of lawful sponsorship by a political party, in violation of Section 177 (C) of the 1999 Constitution.
Olagoke noted that there were other court judgements, including appellate court decisions, to back that up.
He contended that the governor’s votes were squandered and urged the court to declare the appellant the winner.
Godwin Agabi, SAN, counsel for the governor, claimed that the nomination and sponsorship of a candidate for election is strictly an internal matter of a political party, and that the court has no authority over it.
Emeka Etiaba, SAN, for the PDP, sought the court to strike out grounds 1 and 8 of the appellant’s grounds of appeal, as well as several other concerns brought in the appeal, for lack of competence.
After hearing the counsel’s submission, the three-member panel led by Justice Elfrieda Williams-Dawodu reserved judgement for a date to be communicated to the parties.