The Appeal Court, Abuja Division will on Sunday deliver judgment in the appeal filed by the governorship candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Plateau State, Nentawe Goshwe, challenging the victory of Governor Caleb Mutfwang.
This comes about a week after the three-member panel led by Justice Elfrieda Williams-Dawodu reserved judgment on the appeal.
Goshwe is challenging the victory of Governor Mutfwang on the ground that the latter was not qualified to have contested the election because he was not validly sponsored and nominated by his political party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to run in the March 18 2023 polls.
He insisted that the PDP lacked structure and was not qualified to sponsor any candidate in an election, alleging that Mutfwang’s poll was not conducted in compliance with the Electoral Act and therefore did not win the majority of lawful votes cast during the election.
In the election, Mutfwang on the platform of the PDP polled 525,299 votes while Goshwe polled 481,370 votes.
The APC candidate’s suit was, however, dismissed by a three-member panel of a tribunal headed by Justice Rita Irele-Ifijeh, in a unanimous decision, for lacking in merit.
Dissatisfied with the judgment, Goshwe appealed the tribunal judgment.
In his notice of appeal, the appellant and his political party – APC, told the court that there was over-voting and non-compliance with the 2022 Electoral Act during the 2023 governorship election in the state.
The lead counsel for the appellants, Prof. Olagoke, SAN, said Mutfwang was not qualified to contest the election by a lack of valid sponsorship by a political party, contrary to section 177 (C) of the 1999 Constitution.
He cited several court judgments including decisions of the appellate court to back his arguments.
According to Professor Olagoke, the votes polled by Governor Mutfwang were wasted votes, calling on the court to declare Mr. Goshwe the winner of the election.
However, counsel to Governor Mutfwang, Godwin Agabi, SAN argued that the issue of nomination and sponsorship of a candidate for election was an internal party affair which the court has no jurisdiction over.
On his part, counsel to the PDP, Emeka Etiaba, SAN, prayed the court to strike out the appellant’s appeal for lacking in merit.