In a recent development marked with jubilation, the Plateau State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in Jos has delivered its verdict in favour of Governor Caleb Mutfwang of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The judgment was a significant blow to the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate, Nentawe Goshwe, who challenged the results of the March 18 gubernatorial election.
The tribunal, sitting in the capital of Plateau State, Jos, thoroughly dismissed the petitions lodged by APC and Goshwe. It upheld the declaration of Caleb Mutfwang as the rightful winner of the election made by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The dispute arose from APC and its candidate rejecting the outcomes and subsequently approaching the court for redress.
The contention of APC and Nentawe primarily revolved around the legitimacy of Mutfwang’s nomination and sponsorship by his party for the said election. They posited that Mutfwang was ineligible to partake in the election.
However, the tribunal, in its session on Friday, September 22, 2023, concluded that the claims and arguments presented by the APC and Nentawe were devoid of merit. Thus, the petitions against Governor Mutfwang were unequivocally dismissed.
This ruling has unequivocally validated Governor Mutfwang’s victory, as declared by INEC, in the contentious March 18 governorship election in Plateau State, dimming APC’s contention against the election’s outcome. The tribunal’s verdict has been perceived as a pivotal moment, fostering a wave of jubilation among supporters of PDP and Governor Mutfwang.
In a broader context, the judiciary has instituted tribunals across the 28 states which conducted gubernatorial elections in March 2023. The judgments in these states are anticipated to be rendered within 100 days post the declaration of the polls. This implies that approximately 25 of the 28 states are projected to hear the verdicts on the gubernatorial election petitions within their jurisdiction before the culmination of September.
The implications of these tribunal rulings are profound as they not only affirm the electoral mandate but also underscore the pivotal role of the judiciary in upholding the tenets of democracy and rule of law. It fosters an environment where electoral grievances can be addressed, ensuring that the will of the people is ultimately respected.
While this tribunal ruling has settled the political turmoil in Plateau State, it is crucial for all parties involved to respect the judgment and work towards the collective progress and development of the state. The spotlight is now shifted to the remaining states, where the outcomes of the tribunals are eagerly awaited, and their impacts on the political landscape are yet to unfold.
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