Sunday 24 December 2023


By: Valentine Adese (JP),

The Governor of Plateau State, Caleb Mutfwang (Esq) has filed his Appeal with his Political party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the Supreme Court of Nigeria, challenging the Judgment of the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division that sacked him from office on the ground that, he contested the Governorship election in Plateau State on the 18th of March 2023, as an Independent Candidate as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has no structure at the time in Plateau to sponsor him.


Defendants on the face of the processes filed are:

  1. Nentawe Yilwatda Goshwe
  2. All Progressives Congress (APC)
  3. Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and
  4. Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)

It must be noted that the Appeal of Governor Caleb with the PDP is an Appeal against the well-considered judgment of the Court of Appeal delivered on the 19th of November 2023, setting aside the decision of the Plateau State Governorship Election Tribunal that sat in Jos, of 22nd September, 2023, wherein the Tribunal dismissed the 1st and 2nd Respondents’ petition.

However, now also being dissatisfied with the said decision of the Court of Appeal, the Appellants lodged their Appeal against same vide a Notice of Appeal filed on the 1st of December, 2023.

At this point, REALITY finds it instructive to restate one of the profound findings of the Court of Appeal as encompassed in the contribution of his lordship, Abang JCA, in allowing the Appeal of Nentawe and the APC. He stated thus:

“The tribunal was in error when it claimed it lacked jurisdiction to entertain the Appellant’s ground One of the petition. Disqualification based on lack of capacity of PDP to sponsor the 2nd Respondent to contest the election is an issue that can be raised at the tribunal post-election under the provisions of section 134(1)(a)&(3) of the Electoral Act 2022 where in this case that the 3rd Respondent flouted an injunctive prohibition order of court of law (exhibit G1).

“It has no legal status under the provisions of section 177 (c) of 1999 Constitution as amended to sponsor the 2nd Respondent to contest the election as a Governor of Plateau State whilst still disobedience of the Court’s order.

“When a court of law makes an order, that affects the status of a party or group of persons, it no longer lies within the discretion of the party or person to elect how to obey that order or whether to obey it.

“Compliance with court’s order must be total and not partial like exhibit 2RA3 in evidence. Judgment of courts must be obeyed to the letter or in full. The effect of non-compliance with a subsisting order of court will be devastating and earth shaking. There is no how there won’t be a twist in the body chemistry of a person that flouts subsisting court’s order.

“In fact the effect of non-compliance with a subsisting order of court would be like an earthquake. A court of law must not only bark but must bark and bite and if situation warrant break the bones. That is to teach a party or a person in disobedience that it was a joke taken too far to overlook the order in exhibit G1 and pretend that it does not exist.

“My lords, democracy is anchored on the rule of law not on the rule of might or blackmail. Where a part or a person makes attempt to disparage an order of court, the court that made the order or another court of competent jurisdiction that is seized of the proceedings where the alleged disobedience is raised should do everything possible to protect the court’s order.

“An order of court should not be treated with disdain because the only property of the court of law is its order and judgments. It has a duty to protect its own property. This is to maintain the integrity and sanctity of the court of law.

“Exhibit G1 was made against the 3rd Respondent as a party and not against the Plateau State Chapter of the 3rd Respondent. The effect of the order is that the 3rd Respondent as a party cannot participate in any election in Plateau State except the order is complied with”.

And in concurring with the lead judgment, WAZIRI, JCA, in full appreciation of the essence of the petition and the need to allow the appeal on the state of the pleadings and the evidence adduced at the tribunal in proof, pungently held and concluded that:

“Court orders or judgments are not permitted to be treated with arrogance. The order or judgment of a court of competent jurisdiction subsists unless and until it is set aside by a higher court.

“The sanctity and authority of the court must be protected in line with the rule of law. If orders/judgments of courts are not obeyed it will certainly create anarchy in the society as courts of law are the last hope of the common man”.


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