The Supreme Court, on Friday, reinstated Governor Caleb Mutfwang of Plateau State, whose election was nullified by the Court of Appeal.
The apex court, in a unanimous decision by a five-member panel of Justices, vacated the judgement of the appellate court, which sacked Muftwang of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and declared the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Mr. Nentawe Goshwe, as the valid winner of the governorship election that was held in the state on March 18, 2023.
The court upheld the return of Muftwang as the winner of the election.
It held that it was not in dispute that Governor Muftwang was sponsored for the election by his political party, adding that the validity of his nomination was not a ground that could be challenged at an election petition tribunal.
In the lead judgement that was delivered by Justice Emmanuel Agim, the panel held that the appellate court lacked the jurisdiction to determine the validity or otherwise of the primary election that produced Muftwang as a candidate in the election.
It held that the issue of Muftwang’s nomination has become statute-barred since the 21 days allowed for his candidature to be challenged at the high court have since elapsed.
Besides, the Supreme Court, which held that the appellate court made a fundamental error, held that the APC and its candidate lacked the locus standi to challenge Muftwang’s candidature.
It held that under section 84(18) of the Electoral Act 2022, only PDP members that participated in its primary election could challenge the outcome in court by another political party.
“The whole case is a thorough abuse of the court process,” the apex court held.
“The legal profession should wake up or it will render itself irrelevant in the eyes of the people with this type of judgement from the Appeal Court,” Justice Agim warned.