The Court of Appeal in Abuja has delivered a landmark judgment, nullifying the electoral victory of the Senate Minority Leader Senator Simon Mwadkwon representing Plateau North Senatorial District in the National Assembly.
In a unanimous decision, the three-member panel, led by Justice Daudu Williams, ruled that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had not validly nominated Senator Mwadkwon as its candidate.
This momentous decision has sent shockwaves through the political landscape, ultimately altering the political landscape of Plateau North Senatorial District. The Court of Appeal also ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to organize a fresh election within 90 days to rectify the situation.
The verdict followed appeals filed by Chris Giwa of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Gyang Zi of the Labour Party (LP). Both Giwa and Zi challenged the earlier judgment of the National/State Election Petitions Tribunal in Jos, Plateau State, which had affirmed Senator Mwadkwon’s victory as the rightful winner of the senatorial poll.
Key to the appellants’ arguments was the contention that Senator Mwadkwon was not qualified to contest the election due to the lack of a valid party structure within the PDP.
The Court of Appeal, through Justice Daudu Williams, meticulously reviewed the evidence presented and held that the PDP had failed to fully comply with a High Court order, specifically noting that 12 local government areas had not participated in the party congress. This crucial finding led to the court’s conclusion that Senator Mwadkwon’s nomination was invalid.
Justice Daudu Williams emphasized the significance of the court’s decision, stating, “The court made total findings with regard to the issue in focus. To avoid anarchy, I agree with the appellants that the court must protect an order of another court. I agree with the appellant that the third respondent had no valid structure and could not have claimed to have validly nominated the second respondent (Mwadkwon) for the election.”
“Given the findings of this court, the appeal, therefore, succeeds as the court order was not complied with. The first respondent is hereby ordered to conduct another senatorial election in Plateau North within 90 days,” the court ruled.
This ruling has now opened the door for a new chapter in Plateau North’s political landscape, with multiple parties and candidates expected to vie for the seat in the upcoming election.
Senator Mwadkwon’s legal team may choose to appeal this ruling to the Supreme Court, potentially extending the political uncertainty in Plateau North.