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The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has reserved judgment in the appeal by the governorship candidate of the All Progressive Congress in Plateau state, Nentawe Goshwe challenging the victory of Caleb Mutfwang.

Mutfwang, of the Peoples Democratic Party, polled 525,299 votes while Goshwe polled 481,370 votes in the March 18 governorship election in the state.


Goshwe challenged the election of Mutfwang at the tribunal, claiming that the governor was not validly nominated and sponsored by his party.

He equally alleged that the election of Mutfwang was not conducted in compliance with the electoral act and he did not win the majority of lawful votes cast during the election.

However, a three-member panel of the tribunal headed by Justice R. Irele-Ifijeh in a unanimous decision, dismissed the petition for lacking in merit.

Displeased with the judgement, the APC candidate appealed the tribunal judgment.

He insisted that the governor was not qualified to have contested the election because he was not validly sponsored and nominated by a political party.

He argued that the PDP lacked structure and was not qualified to sponsor any candidate in an election.

The APC candidate also told the Appellate court in his notice of appeal that there was over-voting and non-compliance with the 2022 Electoral Act, during the 2023 governorship election in the state.

Making his submission on Saturday, the lead counsel for the appellants, Prof. Olagoke, SAN, told the court that 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.

Olagoke added that there were several court judgments including decisions of the appellate court to back that.

He argued that the votes the governor polled were wasted votes, urging the court to declare the appellant winner.

Speaking, the counsel for the governor, Godwin Agabi, SAN stated that the issue of nomination and sponsorship of a candidate for election is purely an internal affair of a political party, adding that the court has no jurisdiction over it.

He submitted that the word qualification used by the petitioner is misleading as the issue raised by the petition bordered on nomination and sponsorship.

Urging the court to dismiss the appeal for lacking in merit, he submitted that in about 30 case laws and decisions of the appellate court, the court following judicial precedents, rightly held that it lacked jurisdiction on issues of nomination and sponsorship of candidates of political parties.

The governor’s counsel submitted that the petitioners contradicted themselves by urging the court to declare them as winners of an election they claimed was invalid, null, and void.

PDP’s counsel, Emeka Etiaba, SAN, urged the court to strike out grounds 1 and 8 of the appellant’s grounds of appeal together with some other issues raised in the appeal for lacking in competence.

He also moved a notice of preliminary objection challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the appeal.

He argued that the basis of the appellant’s submissions concerning the qualification of the governor was incorrect in law.

He drew the attention of the court to the judgment of the tribunal that the governor was validly nominated and sponsored by a political party.

Etiaba added that the issue of nomination and sponsorship is an internal affair of a political party and a pre-election issue that only a High Court has jurisdiction to entertain.

The three-member panel led by Justice Elfrieda Williams- Dawodu after listening to the submission of the counsel reserved judgment to a date to be communicated to parties.

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