The Court of Appeal sitting in Jos, on Friday, affirmed the ruling of the National and State House of Assemblies Election Petition Tribunal, which sacked the lawmaker representing the Bassa/Jos North Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Musa Agah of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to return Muhammad Alkali of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) as the valid winner of the February 26, 2022 bye-election.
According to the PUNCH, the tribunal had last month in a unanimous judgment delivered by Justices Hope Ozoh, Khadi Umar, and Zainab Bashir, held that the PDP candidate was not validly nominated by his party, having a subsisting judgment of the High Court that was affirmed by the Court of Appeal, that the PDP had no valid structure in Plateau State to nominate a candidate.
The tribunal had further ruled that there was over-voting in the results declared by INEC to announce Agah as the winner of the February 26, 2022 bye-election.
Dissatisfied with the tribunal’s ruling,the PDP candidate and his party approached the Appellate Court and urged it to dismiss the judgment.
However, ruling on the matter on Friday, the Court of Appeal upheld the judgment of the tribunal and insisted that the nomination of the PDP candidate was an error as the state chapter of the party lacked the structure to produce candidates for the election.
According to the Appeal Court, the Peoples Democratic Party took very important things for granted when it failed to comply with an earlier judgement which directed them to go back and do the right thing by constituting legally acceptable excos of the party.
The Appeal Court presided over by three Justices headed by Justice Teni Hassan, therefore, ordered INEC to withdraw the certificate earlier issued to Musa Agah of the PDP, and issue same to Gwoni Mohammed of the PRP as the legally elected candidate for February 26, 2022 House of Representatives bye-election for the Bassa/Jos North Federal Constituency.
On the issue of over-voting during the election, the appellate court ruled that the claim could not be substantiated.
Credit: The PUNCH