The Court of Appeal in Abuja has invalidated the participation of the Peoples Democratic Party and its senatorial candidate, Napoleon Bali, in the February 25 National Assembly Election for Plateau South Senatorial District.
According to Channels, this decision was based on their refusal to comply with a lawful court order.
In the judgment delivered by a three-member panel led by Justice Elfreda Williams-Dawodu, the votes cast for PDP in the election were deemed unlawful and nullified.
Consequently, the former Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, who ran for the election as an All Progressives Congress candidate and had originally come second in the February Senatorial election, was declared as the Senator for the Plateau South Senatorial District.
Justice Williams-Dawodu clarified that the PDP and its candidate had no legal basis to participate in the election because they failed to adhere to the Plateau High Court’s ruling, which mandated the party to conduct legitimate elections for the selection of officers for Wards, Local Governments, and the State Chapter.
The Plateau High Court had issued an order in 2022 for the PDP to conduct these elections, which the party did not comply with.
The Court of Appeal emphasized that the disobedience and disregard for the clear lawful order of the court were substantial, as the PDP hastily established an illegal caretaker committee in defiance of the court’s judgment.
In particular, the appellate court determined that the PDP did not sponsor any candidate for the Plateau South Senatorial District, as it was ineligible to participate in any election as of February 25, 2023.
Consequently, the Court of Appeal upheld the declaration of Lalong as the legitimate Senator for the Plateau South Senatorial District, considering that he had received the second-highest number of votes in the election.
Additional Justices of the Court of Appeal who concurred with this judgment are Mohammed Mustapha and Okon Abang.
It’s worth noting that Simon Lalong, the former Governor of Plateau State, currently holds the position of Minister of Labour in President Bola Tinubu’s administration.