In a landmark decision on Friday, the Supreme Court unanimously reinstated Governor Caleb Mutfwang of Plateau State, overturning the nullification of his election by the Court of Appeal.
The ruling set aside the appellate court’s judgment that declared Mr. Nentawe Goshwe, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as the valid winner of the March 18, 2023 governorship election in the state.
The five-member panel of Justices held that Governor Mutfwang’s sponsorship by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the election was not in dispute, and the validity of his nomination was not a ground that could be challenged at an election petition tribunal.
Justice Emmanuel Agim, delivering the lead judgment, emphasized that the appellate court lacked jurisdiction to determine the validity of the primary election that produced Mutfwang as the candidate.
The Supreme Court argued that the issue of Mutfwang’s nomination became statute-barred, as the 21-day period allowed for challenging his candidature at the high court had elapsed.
Additionally, the court ruled that the APC and its candidate lacked the standing to challenge Mutfwang’s candidature, highlighting that only PDP members who participated in its primary election could legally contest the outcome.
The apex court condemned the case as a “thorough abuse of the court process” and cautioned about potential damage to the legal profession’s credibility, warning that such judgments could render it irrelevant in the eyes of the people.