The tribunal rulings invalidating the election of some National Assembly members in Plateau State have been characterised as weird by Senate Minority Leader Senator Simon Davou Mwadkwon, who is adamant that they would not stand.
In a statement on Friday, Mwadkwon, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senator for the Plateau North Senatorial District, expressed his confidence that the Appellate Court would not uphold any decision that was blatantly at odds with the Supreme Court’s rulings.
He urged PDP members and sympathisers in Plateau State to maintain their composure, saying that “those currently rejoicing inside their house of lies will face the reality of their self deceit when the Appeal Court takes the right decisions on the tribunal judgements.”
The Supreme Court’s ruling on the PDP lawsuit regarding the nomination of Kashim Shettima as President Bola Tinubu’s running mate in the February 2023 presidential election, according to Senator Mwadkwon, was sufficiently explicit as to who has the right to contest the nomination of political party candidates.
He claimed that the Supreme Court has made it clear that no political party can contest the nomination of another political party, and he questioned how and why the tribunal could invalidate the election of duly elected National Assembly members on the pretext that they were improperly nominated because the state lacked a party structure.
Even assuming, but not admitting, that the PDP had no organization in Plateau State at the time the candidates were nominated, the Senate Minority Leader said, “Is it the State party structure that nominates candidates, or the National?
“Was not the national PDP body, which is constitutionally authorised to nominate candidates for elections, in charge of holding the primary elections that produced our candidates? Or, is there another political party organ than the national organisation responsible for holding primary elections?
However, the PDP in Plateau State dutifully followed Justice S.P. Gang’s ruling and had a new congress in September 2021. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) did its duty to oversee this congress as required by law.
“As a result, the Federal High Court’s decision in the case of Augustine Timkuk versus PDP was a vindication of the congress, as given by Justice D. V. Agishi. A verdict by Justices T. Y. Hassan, I. A. Andenyangtso, and O. O. Goodluck, delivered on February 11, 2023, unanimously upheld the judgement of the Court of Appeal in Jos in favour of the PDP.
“One questions t now is that he tribunal’s justification for invalidating the elections of our legitimately elected National Assembly members, which was that there was no party organization.
“This further takes into account the fact that one of the two National and State House of Elections Tribunal panels, presided over by Justice Williams Olamide, rejected in its own rulings the justification used by the panel led by Justice Mohammed Tukur to invalidate the elections of our party members.
“Regardless of how the verdicts are viewed, they logically contradict established legal principles and will surely be overturned by the Appeal Court.
As a result, “our people should maintain their composure, with the confidence that those they voluntarily elected will serve their terms and fulfil their electoral promises.”