Appeal Court Ruling Disqualifies PDP Representatives
The Appeal Court, sitting in Abuja, delivered a significant ruling on Tuesday, leading to the disqualification of three members of the House of Representatives who had been elected under the banner of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Plateau State during the 2023 general elections.
Election Nullification Due to Failure to Hold Fresh
Congresses In separate judgements, the appellate court nullified the election victories of the PDP candidates in Plateau State.
The affected representatives are Peter Gyendeng, who represented Barkin-Ladi/Riyom Federal Constituency, Musa Bagos, representing Jos South/Jos East Federal Constituency, and the veteran lawmaker Beni Lar, who represented Langtang North/Langtang South Federal Constituency.
Failure to Comply with Court Orders
The basis for their removal stems from the failure of the PDP to conduct fresh congresses in all 17 Local Government Areas in Plateau State as directed by the court.
Despite the initial court order from the Plateau State High Court, the party proceeded to nominate candidates who subsequently won elections in their respective constituencies.
Fatal Consequence of Non-Compliance
The three-man panel of the appeal court, headed by Justice Elfrieda Williams-Dawodu and comprising Justices Muhammed Mustapha and Okon Abang, ruled that the PDP’s failure to adhere to the court order had serious consequences for the party.
Previous Tribunal Verdict Supports Appeal Court Decision
The Appeal Court’s position aligns with the earlier judgment of the Justice Mohammed Tukur-led Plateau State National Assembly Elections Petition Tribunal.
The tribunal had declared that since the PDP candidates’ votes in the poll were invalidated, candidates from other political parties with the second highest number of votes should assume their positions.
New Representatives Declared Based on Court Orders
Following the appeal court’s verdict, Dalyop Chollom and Ajang Alfred Iliya of the Labour Party have been declared the winners of the Barkin-Ladi/Riyom Federal Constituency and Jos South/Jos East Federal Constituency seats, respectively.
Vincent Bulus Venman of the APC has been declared the representative for Langtang North/Langtang South Federal Constituency.
INEC’s Appeal and Awarded Cost
The court also imposed a cost of N2 million on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for filing appeals to challenge the tribunal’s judgment. The appeal court emphasized that INEC, as an independent arbiter, should not have filed an appeal in support of any candidate.