Tuesday 2 January 2024


By: Amb. Valentine Adese (JP),

Tuesday, the 9th of January 2024, is going to be another historical day for the citizens and politicians in Plateau State as all their attention would be focused on the Supreme Court which would be hearing the Appeal filed by the incumbent Governor of the State, Caleb Mutfwang (Esq) who is challenging the decision of the Court of Appeal which sacked him from office and in his place, Dr. Nentawe Yilwatda Goshwe, as Governor-Elect

You would recall that, REALITY had reported that the Court Appeal Abuja Division’s Judgment, delivered on the 19th of November, 2023, on the Plateau State Governorship election that took place on 25th February 2023, and the decision of the Lower Governorship Tribunal that sat in Jos, Plateau State, are currently on trial, as the Governor of Plateau State, Caleb Mutfwang (Esq) files his Notice of Appeal and Brief of Argument at the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

Since this would be the end of litigation on the election matter, the issue would attracted the attention of Nigerians in Plateau State and others across the world to its possible positive outcome.

It is therefore, going to be a legal battle in which people anticipate superior arguments and persuasions from the Legal Teams representing the parties.

For now, the Court of Appeal has declared Prof. Nentawe Yilwatda, as the Governor-Elect arising from his Appeal against the Judgment delivered by the Governorship Tribunal that sat in Plateau, which had dismissed his Petition and reaffirmed the victory of Mutfwang, as duly elected as Governor of Plateau State.

The Court had also in the Judgment, set aside the Judgment of the Lower Tribunal.

According to the Court of Appeal, the candidates of the Plateau State chapter of the PDP that contested the 2023 general elections, including Governor Mutfwang, stood in the elections as Independent Candidates. The Court further held that “The status is not recognized by Nigerian Laws and Constitution”.

It therefore follows that, at the Supreme Court, Governor Caleb and the PDP would show that the Plateau State chapter of the PDP has a Structure and that the chapter conducted the ordered Congresses by the Courts in 2020.

It is also the responsibility of the Appellants to show and prove that no injunction was issued to stop its State Congress of 25th September 2021, by a Competent Plateau State High Court on the 23rd of September, 2021.

This is because the fact before the Court of Appeal is that “On 23rd September 2021, the Exco members of Kanke Local Government and some of the Exco members of Ampang East and Dawaki Wards, brought an Order of Interlocutory Injunction from the High Court of Plateau State, Holden at Pankshin, seeking to restrain Senator Tunde Ogbeha and the Caretaker Committee, as well as, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) from conducting the State Congress.

The Appellants also need to make efforts to convince the Supreme Court why the party (PDP) ignored the Order.

This is because, therein in the record been transferred to the Supreme Court, there is a deposition that holds that, “after a careful study of the Motion on Notice fixed for hearing on the 9th day of November 2021 at Plateau State High Court in Pankshin, the Legal Advice the Appellants obtained was that they can proceed with the Congress without running foul with the Law”.

It is of note that the Appellant (Governor Mutfwang Esq) has already filed at the Supreme Court and served his Notice of Appeal and his Brief of Argument.

However, the 1st Respondent, Dr. Nentawe Yilwatda in his reply Brief to the Brief of Argument of Governor Caleb had argued in part as follows:-

“We submit that sponsorship by a political party is a constitutional requirement for qualification under section 177 (c) CFRN and the 1st Respondent’s Petition was sanction by Section 134(1)(a) of the Electoral Act 2022 to approach the Tribunal on this ground, as it is sufficient and manifestly armed with the requisite jurisdiction to hear and determine the issue.

“The Lower Court got it right in finding in favour of the 1st Respondent in allowing the Appeal to sustain Jurisdiction of the Tribunal to entertain same.

“The 1st and 2nd Respondents as the Petitioners demonstrated vide cogent evidence that the Appellant and the Respondent are I breach of Section 177 (c) of the CFRN and thus, unqualified.

“Your lordships are urged to affirm the decision of the lower court in this regard.

“In other words, the failure, refusal and /or neglect of the 4th Respondent to constitute party Exco/Structure in Plateau State in compliance with a valid order of court, robs it any capacity to sponsor a candidate for any election in Plateau State, including that of the office of Plateau State Governor.

“This is because, it is these party Exco that will vote as delegates at the Primary election to sponsor a candidate.

“The contention that National Executives are the ones to conduct Primary Election will therefore not assist the Appellant when there are no delegates to vote.

“We urge your lordships to so hold and dismiss the instant Appeal on this score alone.

“Appellant failed woefully in his attempt to situate every complaint in the Petition leading to the Appeal within the domain of the 4th Respondent internal affairs.

“It is now elementary that where a Constitution or Statute provision or even a Court of Law prescribes a manner by which a thing is to be done, there must be no other way but that prescribed manner except where it lends itself to discretion which is not the case in the instant Appeal by virtue of the relevant statutory and Constitutional provisions earlier cited herein disqualifying the Appellant for non-compliance and indeed Exhibit G1.

“In Exhibit G1, the Court ordered the 3rd Respondent to comply with the provisions of the Constitution and the Electoral Act by conducting Congress, no other way will suffice.

“The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) has also prescribed that for one to qualify to contest for the office of Governor of a State, he must be sponsored by a political party.

“It is crystal clear that where there is no political party Structure or Organ at the state level, there can be no sponsorship, and where members of that political party fail, refuse or neglect to act against a non-existing political Party Structure before the election, any other candidate at the election can invoke Section 134(1)(a) of the Electoral Act and as it relates to this Petition, Section 177 (c) of the CFRN.

“We urge the Honourable Court to so hold and dismiss this Appeal”.


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