In a dramatic turn of events on the eve of the verdict for the March 18 governorship election in Plateau state, the National and State Assembly Tribunal in Jos has unseated three Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmakers.
The affected legislators, namely Remvyat Nanbol, Agbalak Adukuchill, and Happiness Akawu, had been representing Langtang Central, Rukuba/Iregwe, and Pengana constituencies in the State House of Assembly.
Dr. Nentawe Yiltwatda, the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in the election, had challenged the victory of Governor Caleb Mutfwang, who ran under the PDP banner. Mutfwang had been declared the winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) after garnering 525,299 votes compared to Yiltwatda’s 481,370 votes.
However, the tribunal’s ruling took a significant turn on Thursday when it declared Daniel Ninbol Listic of the Labour Party (LP), Bako Ankala, and Yakubu Sanda of the APC, who had all finished second in their respective races, as the new victors.
Justice Muhammad Tukur, leading the tribunal panel, cited the PDP lawmakers’ refusal to obey a court order to conduct ward congresses, which would have established a valid party structure. This, he argued, rendered them ineligible candidates and disqualified the PDP from sponsoring them.
The tribunal emphasized that the petitioners had the legal standing to challenge the PDP’s participation in the election, ultimately ordering INEC to revoke the Certificates of Return from the ousted lawmakers and reissue them to the newly declared winners.
This ruling follows a trend as the tribunal has previously disqualified four PDP National Assembly members, including a senator, over party structural issues.
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