Spokesperson of the Atiku Abubakar 2023 presidential campaign council, Daniel Bwala, has criticised the appellate court’s decision to remove Governor Caleb Mutfwang of Plateau State.
Speaking on Channels Television on Monday, Bwala said, “We have never seen where an election was invalidated on the ground that somebody disobeyed a court order.”
According to the Independent National Electoral Commission, Mutfwang secured 525,299 votes, surpassing 17 other candidates, including Nentawe Goshwe of the All Progressives Congress, who garnered 481,370 votes in the March election.
The Plateau State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal also affirmed Mutfwang’s victory in September. However, an appellate court, last week, nullified the Peoples Democratic Party governor’s win and directed INEC to issue a Certificate of Return to Goshwe.
This decision was based on the party’s failure to conduct a valid congress in all 17 Local Government Areas, as ordered by the court.
Bwala argued against invalidating an election due to a court order regarding party congresses.
The lawyer said, “If you look at the grounds in section 134, disobedience to court order was not there. Now, the court can say disobedience to court order was a consequence of not conducting the primary.
“Even if they don’t conduct the primary, it is pre-election but it is more of the disobedience of the court order.”
He encouraged the people of Plateau to stay hopeful, stating, “because our eyes are now fixated on Ebonyi because if this goes this way, then we have every reason to believe that it will go in the favour of PDP.”
In the past week, the appellate court overturned the victories of three governors declared winners by INEC in the March 2023 poll. All three governors, from opposition parties, plan to appeal to the Supreme Court.
The court nullified the election of Abba Yusuf of Kano State from the New Nigeria Peoples Party, declaring Nasir Gawuna of the APC as the victor.
Similarly, the court in Zamfara state invalidated PDP’s Dauda Lawal’s win, ordering fresh elections in three LGAs. The race mainly involves Lawal from the PDP and Bello Matawalle from the APC.