The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja, on Sunday, nullified the election of Governor Caleb Mutfwang of Plateau State.
The appellate court, in a unanimous decision by a three-member panel of Justices, held that Mutfwang was not validly nominated and sponsored by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to participate in the gubernatorial contest that held on March 18.
It held that all the votes that were credited to him and the PDP after the election amounted to wasted votes.
Consequently, the appellate court panel, led by Justice Elfrieda Williams-Dawodu, ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to withdraw the Certificate of Return that it earlier issued to Mutfwang of the PDP as winner of the governorship poll.
It ordered that the candidate that got the second majority lawful votes at the election, should be sworn in as governor of the state.
The judgement followed an appeal that was lodged against governor Muftwang’s election by the governorship candidate of the All Progressive Congress, APC, in the state, Mr. Nentawe Goshwe.
INEC had declared that Mutfwang of the PDP won the gubernatorial contest with a total of 525,299 votes, ahead of the APC candidate, Goshwe, who polled 481,370 votes.
Dissatisfied with the outcome of the election, Goshwe, went before the Plateau State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal to challenge it.
He, among other things, contended that the PDP lacked a political structure in the states and was therefore incapable of validly nominating or sponsoring any candidate for the governorship poll.
Besides, he argued that the election of Mutfwang was not conducted in compliance with the Electoral Act, insisting that he did not win the majority of lawful votes cast during the election.
But a three-member panel of the tribunal headed by Justuce R. Irele-Ifijeh, in a unanimous decision, dismissed Goshwe’s petition as lacking in merit.
Not happy with the judgement of the tribunal, Goshwe brought the case before the appellate court, maintaining his ground that the PDP candidate, governor Muftwang, lacked the platform and legal qualification to contest the election.
He further alleged that the election was marred by over-voting and non-compliance with key provisions of the the 2022 Electoral Act.
While adopting his final brief of argument, Goshwe, through his team of lawyers led by Prof. Fakunle Olagoke, SAN, told the court that Mutfwang was not qualified to contest the election by virtue of a lack of valid sponsorship by a political party, contrary to section 177 (C) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
However, the governor, through his counsel, Chief Kanu Agabi, SAN, urged the court to dismiss the appeal and uphold the earlier verdict of the tribunal.
Agabi, SAN, argued that the issue of nomination and sponsorship of a candidate for an election was purely an internal affair of a political party which no court had the jurisdiction to wad into.
More so, he contended that the Appellant lacked the locus standi to query a nomination and sponsorship of the candidate of another political party.
Likewise, the counsel for the PDP, Mr. Emeka Etiaba, SAN, urged the court to strike out grounds 1 and 8 of the Appellant’s grounds of appeal, saying they lacked competence.
Etiaba, SAN, argued that governor Mutfwang emerged as gubernatorial flag-bearer of the PDP, through a validly conducted primary election he said was duly monitored by INEC.
Delivering its judgement in the matter on Sunday, the appellate court upheld the appeal and nullified the election of governor Mutfwang.
Other Justices on the panel were; Muhammed Mustapha and Okon Abang.
It will be recalled that the same panel of the appellate court had on November 7, also sacked a Senator and three members of the House of Representatives in the state that won their respective elections on the platform of the PDP.
The panel based its decision on failure of the PDP to fully comply with a court order that was made in 2022, which it said directed the party to conduct congress in the 17 Local Government Areas in the state.
It held that an evidence the PDP produced to prove that it complied with the order, showed that 12 LGAs were excluded in a purported congress it held to select its candidates for the 2023 general elections.
The appellate court, therefore, held that though the lawmakers won their respective seats during the National Assembly election that held on February 25, all the scores that were credited them, amounted to wasted votes as they were not valid candidates.
Knocks as Lagos church invites Portable, Pasuma to praise night
A branch of the Celestial Church of Christ in Lagos is facing criticism following the announcement of its praise night event featuring Pasuma, a Fuji singer, and the controversial musician, Portable.
The event flyer, shared on the church’s Facebook page on November 29, 2023, prompted an outcry from numerous users.
Scheduled for December 15, the event drew shock from multiple Facebook users who condemned the church for inviting secular artistes to a praise night.
The church’s post reads: “JOIN US ON 15th OF DEC, 2023”
“As We Celebrate our 7th-year Anniversary on Our ANKARA / PRAISE NIGHT.
“Performing: ALHAJI WASIU ALABI PASUMA a.k.a Oganla,’ ‘HABEEB OLALOMI a.k.a Portable,’ ‘MAY-SHUA,’ ‘EVANG. SUNDAY GP a.k.a De Governor.”
Expressing disappointment, Bolanle Bamidele Adewuyi commented, “This is disheartening… Is this what you turn the Church of God to? It’s hilarious.”
Edafe Oghenebrume labeled the move as sacrilegious, expressing dismay and questioning the spiritual direction of the church leaders and congregation.
“This is a sacrilege in the Celestial Church of Christ. It is disheartening, pathetic, shameful and disgraceful. I wonder about the spiritual orientation of your Shepherd-In-Charge and the congregation.”
Festus Olanrewaji Ojo criticized the decision, emphasizing, “This is a shame! Shame and a very big shame.”
Becky Wunmi Hassan Ayoade expressed concern about the direction of the church, stating, “There is nothing they will not turn celestial church to”.
Ayo Ife humorously remarked, “The artists are not complete yet. Una for kuku add Naira Marley So that the soul winning can complete! Eku ishe oluwa sir.”
However, amidst the criticism, some users expressed eagerness to attend.
Abike Ade affirmed, “I’ll definitely be there.”
Meanwhile, Abike Garment commented, “I must be there make I come dance away my sorrow.”
Kogi guber poll: I won’t challenge election result at tribunal — Dino Melaye
The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the just concluded Kogi State Governorship election, Senator Dino Melaye has announced his decision not to seek legal redress following his electoral loss.
Melaye, who made his decision known at a media briefing in Abuja, on Wednesday, said his decision was hinged on the fact that the judiciary has allegedly become an arm of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
According to him, it is now public knowledge that the judiciary under the current administration has become the “lost hope” instead of the “last hope” of the common man.
Melaye noted that it was a shame that the judiciary watched helplessly as members of the ruling party boasted of their control over the judiciary during campaigns.
Family dissociates Adedoyin from Osun govt, chief justice face-off
The family of Rahman Adedoyin has, for the umpteenth time, dissociated their patriarch, Rahman Adedoyin from the ongoing face-off between the government , Osun judiciary workers and Chief Justice, Justice Oyebola Adepele-Ojo.
In statement titled, “RE: OSUN CJ REMOVAL: DO NOT USE DR. RAHMAN ADEDOYIN’S CASE AS AN EXCUSE OR DEFENCE AGAINST CORRUPT ALLEGATIONS,” signed by the Director, Media & Publicity of Adedoyin Conglomerate,
Dr Kunle Awojoodu on behalf of the family, condemns what it called as attempt to drag Adedoyin into lingering face-off between the state government and chief judge, Hon Justice O.A. Ojo.
The statement reads: “Attention of the family of Dr Rahman Adedoyin has been drawn to various write ups in various media: social and print by some faceless people trying to drag Dr Adedoyin into the face-off between the Chief Judge of Osun, Hon Justice O.A. Ojo , and the Osun State Government as well as the Osun Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria.
“It is highly disheartening that some elements within the society could, simply, for selfish and face saving reasons, descend so low to the abyss of pedestrianism alleging that it is because of Dr Adedoyin’s case that Governor Adeleke of Osun State is pitched against the CJ and, at the same time, being called to account by the Osun State law makers, when the allegations laid against the CJ before the Osun State House of Assembly contain nothing as such.
“It indubitably smacks of unwarranted malice and sheer hypocrisy that anyone could level this type of mischievous allegation against Dr Adedoyin, (a renowned educationist, a business mogul and one of the major employers of labour in Osun State) who has never been a politician, has no nexus with politics or sought any political contract whatsoever, in their attempt to curry undue public advantage/sympathy or circumvent unavertable responsibilities.
“We, as the family, believe in the rule of law and due process of the law and has never, at any point in time, approached any individual, group of persons, traditional rulers, politicians or anyone at all to subvert the cause of justice. We strongly believe that the impartial court would eventually do justice in the case.
“Unfortunately, our hope was dashed when our patriarch, Dr Ramon Adedoyin was convicted and hurriedly condemned in spite of absence or non existent of an iota of evidence linking him either to the hurriedly and belatedly added charge of murder or any of the earlier charges whatsoever.
“As law abiding citizens, we decided to choose the path of legality and constitutionality by seeking true justice at the appellate Court.
” It is therefore illegal, immoral, and unconstitutional for anyone to link the current imbroglio vis a vis the State Government, the protesting staff of the State Judiciary and the embattled CJ, Hon Justice Ojo Adepele to a case that is still pending at appeal, in order to score cheap political points or personal propaganda.’
The family said Dr Adedoyin does not know and has never met the Governor of Osun State.
It stated further, “Nevertheless, for our family decorum and maturity, we reserve our comments on the demands of one Aliyu and a Yoruba Monarch about Justice Adepele Ojo’s circumstantial evidence by which she hurriedly pronounced the guilt of Dr.Adedoyin without required pieces of evidence.
“Without mincing words, the family strongly dissociates itself from unfounded rumours being peddled and negatively marketed, as usual, to this horrible effect.”
Adedoyin’s family, however, vehemently advised those who take delight in stoking fire in the crisis in the State, especially within the media, to leave Dr Adedoyin and his family alone and “rather explore possibility of a defence via due process of the law. It must be sounded as a point of warning that resorting to cheap blackmail or any pretentious linkage with our family or any member thereof will amount to an ill wind that will legally blow them no good,” the statement said.
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