The court of appeal in Abuja has sacked Mutfwang Manasseh of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as governor of Plateau state.
A three-member panel of the court led by Elfrieda Williams-Dawodu, on Sunday held that Manasseh was not validly sponsored by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the election.
While evoking section 136 of the electoral act, the appellate court ordered INEC to withdraw the certificate of return issued to Manasseh.
The court also ordered the commission to issue a fresh certificate of return to the APC candidate.
Reacting to the judgement, Muftwang in a statement through his Director of Press and Public Affairs, Gyang Bere, said the “temporary setback” won’t deter him from repositioning the state on the path of unity, peace and progress.
“He expressed strong optimism that the mandate overwhelmingly given to him by the people of Plateau State would be restored, as he has instructed his legal team to file an appeal at the Supreme Court,” the statement partly read.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had on March 20, declared Mutfwang the winner of the March 18 governorship election.
According to INEC, Mutfwang scored 525,299 votes, while Nentawe Yilwatda, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) polled 481,370 votes.
The electoral body said that Muftwang won in 10 LGAs, including Barkin Ladi, Bassa, Lantang north, Langtang south, Riyom, Mikang, Mangu, Jos East, Qua’an Pan and Pokkos.
Delivering judgment in a suit filed by Yilwatda and his party, election tribunal led by Rita Irele-Ifijeh, held that the issues raised by the petitioners on party structure were pre-election matters, noting that Yilwatda and APC lacked the locus standi to challenge it.
The tribunal also held that PDP held a repeat congress on September 25, 2021, in compliance with the order of a Jos high court delivered by S.P. Gang, the judge.
Ifunanya Ikueze is an Engineer, Safety Professional, Writer, Investor, Entrepreneur and Educator.