The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has removed Governor Mutfwang Manasseh of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, as the governor of Plateau State.
The Appellate Court also ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to immediately recognise Nentawe Goshwe of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the validly elected governor in the March 18 governorship election.
Citing Section 177 of the Constitution, Justice Elfrieda Williams-Dawodu, who presided over a three-person panel of justices, rendered a decision declaring that Manasseh was not lawfully sponsored by the PDP during the election.
The panel held that the party violated the court order that a valid Cparty congress be conducted in the 17 LGAs of the state but conducted Congress in only 5 LGAs.
While dismissing the decision of the Plateau state tribunal, the appellate court held that the issue of qualification was both a pre-election and post-election matter, which it said was contrary to the findings of the tribunal.
The court also held that under Section 134 of the electoral act, it is the sole right of a political party to sponsor its candidate, having met the necessary requirements to do so.
While evoking Section 136 of the electoral act, the court also ordered INEC to retrieve the certificate of return issued to Governor Manasseh and issue a fresh certificate of return to the Goshwe.
Writing by Ifeoma Nwovu; Editing by Jennfer Ogor