Monday 25 December 2023


By: Valentine Adese (JP),

The Court of Appeal has reiterated in its Judgment currently on appeal at the Supreme Court that the Appellants, Governor Caleb Mutfwang (Esq) and his Political Party, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), have not understood the case been made against them by, Dr. Nentawe Yilwatda (The Governor-Elect for Plateau State), in their Petition at the Tribunal and in their well-considered decision at the Court of Appeal.


The Court of Appeal has restated that the issue is been misunderstood like in the case of Hon. Musa Agah in 2022.

The clarification according to the Court of Appeal in the case of Hon. Musa Agah, while delivering judgment on the Appeal filed by Dr. Nentawe is as follows: “It is important to point out at this stage that the Appellants have a misconception of the issue. The issue is not whether the 2nd Appellant was screened and cleared to contest the election to have satisfied all requirements of the law. The issue in controversy with regard to the non-qualification of the 2nd Appellant to contest the bye election of 26th February 2022 relates to an order of Court of competent jurisdiction, the High Court of Plateau State, directing the 1st Appellant to conduct election for the PDP Executive Committee members of Plateau State….” And this Court held therein on page 24 that, “An issue of qualification of a candidate to contest an election under the electoral act 2010 (as amended) is both a pre-election and election matter”.

In its Reply Brief of Argument to the Appeal and Brief of Argument filed by Governor Caleb at the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Dr. Nentawe and the All Progressives Congress (APC) have argued and contended that, “The Appellant (GOVERNOR CALEB) was not sponsored by the 4th Respondent, and that by virtue of the said non-sponsorship the Appellant was not qualified to contest the election”.

It is on record that REALITY had reported that the Defendants/Respondents in the Appeal filed by Governor Caleb are as below:-

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


The 1st and 2nd Respondents in the petition filed against the election and return of the Appellant had contended that the Appellant was not sponsored by the 4th Respondent, and that by virtue of the said non-sponsorship the Appellant was not qualified to contest the election.

It is not in dispute that Section 134(1)(a) of the Electoral Act, donates a ground of appeal to a Petition to challenge the election of the person returned elected on the ground that he was not qualified to contest the said election.

Therefore, once election conducted by the 3rd Respondent has declared a winner, the complaint cease to be a pre-election matter, if it is raised by another candidate in the election, or a political party that participated in the election.

Please see section 133(1)(a) and (b) of the Electoral Act 2022.

The lower court in coming to the decision commendably held in pages 30-33 of the judgment, thus: “It need be noted that this is imperative that Section 134(3) is a new introduction to the Electoral Act of 2022. It will be recalled that section 138 of the Electoral Act 2010 which is similar to section 134 (1) of the Electoral Act t 2022 did not provide for similar provisions now contained in Section 134(3) of the Electoral Act of 2022.

“The mischief intended to be cured by the new provision, in my considered view, is that if any candidate escapes qualification matter in primary election, his qualification can be challenged under section 177 of the Constitution and Section 134 (1)(a) and (3) of the electoral act 2022. Thus, in finding out whether someone was qualified to stand for election, it must be shown that there is no impediment whatsoever standing on his way to contest into a particular office including the office of a Governor of a State.

“Such a person or aspirant in the true sense of it must be a member of a political party and must be sponsored by that political party as its candidate….

“On record, there is evidence way back in 2020 showing that some High Courts and the National and State House of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal in Plateau State, ordered the 3rd Respondent, PDP, to conduct Congresses to enable it participate in any elective office. It is germane to refer to some paragraphs of the Appellants’ Petition on pages 7 to 1 of the Record, Volume 1, which are hereunder reproduced for ease of reference…”

“And conclude on pages 43-48 that “…If all the above scenario are situated in section 177 of the 1999 Constitution read alongside Section 134 (3) of the Electoral Act 2022, the salient question to my mind is, if found by this Court in Appeals Nos. CA/J/EPT/PL/NA/HR/215/2022 of October 28th 2022, Exhibit G6 on October 28th 2022, Exhibit G5, that there is no evidence that the 3rd Respondent /PDP actually complied with the order made, can it be said that the 2nd Respondent was validly sponsored to contest the Governorship Election of Plateau State on March 18th 2023?

“Flowing from the foregoing, I believe very strongly having regard to Section 285 (2) of the 1999 Constitution that a Governorship Election Tribunal has jurisdiction to entertain any issue relating to or pertaining to the validity of the election of a candidate including whether he was validly sponsored ….Paragraph 21 states as follows: “21. 2nd Respondent was not sponsored by the 3rd Respondent or any political party registered by the 1st Respondent”.

“At this juncture, I shall refer to the succinct clarification made by the Court in its judgment on pages 21-22 thereof, delivered by Tani Yusuf Hassan JCA, in the said Appeal No. CA/J/EPT/PL/NA/HR/215/2022, of October 28th 2022, Exhibit G6, on the issue of the non-qualification of the 2nd Respondent therein by the non-compliance with the subsisting order of the, Plateau State High Court in Suit No. PLD/1304/2020, Exhibit G1, by the 3rd Respondent, PDP, vis a vis the question of pre-election in the bye-election of February 26th 2022 for Bassa/Jos North Federal Constituency, Plateau State..”



No comments:

Post a Comment