The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja, in separate judgements on Tuesday, affirmed the nullification of the election of three members of the House of Representatives that emerged on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Plateau State.
Those the court okayed their sack from the House of Reps over their invalid nominations by the PDP, were Peter Gyendeng representing Barkin-Ladi/Riyom Federal Constituency; Musa Bagos representing Jos South/Jos East Federal Constituency and a fifth-term lawmaker, Beni Lar, who represented Langtang North/Langtang South Federal Constituency.
It held that the PDP acted in breach of a subsisting court order, when it sponsored them as its candidates for the National Assembly election that held in the state on February 25.
According to the appellate court, the PDP spurned an order that was made in a suit marked PLD/J/304/2021, which directed it to conduct fresh Congress involving all the 17 Local Government Areas in Plateau State.
The court noted that rather than complying with the order, the party proceeded to nominate the candidates that eventually won elections in their various constituency.
It held that the order that was made by a High Court in Plateau state, being a judgement in Rem, was not only binding but sacrosanct, saying it ought to have been fully obeyed.
The Justice Elfrieda Williams-Dawodu led three-member panel of the appellate court noted that an evidence the PDP adduced to establish that it complied with the court judgement, showed that 12 LGAs were excluded from the purported fresh congress that it conducted “owing to legal issues.”
It held that the failure of the party to obey the court order, proved fatal to its cause.
Consequently, the appellate court upheld the verdict of the Justice Mohammed Tukur-led Plateau State National Assembly Elections Petition Tribunal, which earlier declared that since all the votes the PDP candidates garnered at the poll were wasted, candidates of other political parties that got the second majority votes, should take their place.
Those the appellate court said it was satisfied should take over the legislative seats, were; Dalyop Chollom and Ajang Alfred Iliya of the Labour Party for Barkin-Ladi/Riyom Federal Constituency and Jos South/Jos East Federal Constituency, respectively, and Vincent Bulus Venman of the APC, for Langtang North/Langtang South Federal Constituency.
Meanwhile, the court awarded a cost of N2million against the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, for filing appeals to challenge the judgement of the tribunal.
It held that the electoral body was not supposed to file an appeal in support of any candidate.
“The INEC is supposed to be an independent arbiter. We are not impressed that INEC is appealing,” the appellate court held.
Other members of the Appeal Court panel that gave the judgement on Tuesday, were; Justices Muhammed Mustapha and Okon Abang.