The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has nullified the participation of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Napoleon Binkap Bali, in the February 25 Plateau South senatorial election, on the ground of refusal to carry out lawful order of Court.
The appellate court, in a judgement delivered by Justice Elfaida Oluwayemisi Williams-Dawodu, declared as unlawful and wasted votes cast for PDP in the election and declared the immediate-past governor of Plateau State, Simon Bako Lalong, as the Senator for the Plateau South Senatorial District.
Lalong, who stood for the election on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), had emerged second in the February 25 senatorial election.
Justice Williams-Dawodu held that the PDP and its Senatorial candidate have no legal ground to participate in the election having failed to obey the judgement of a Plateau State High Court that the party should conduct lawful congresses for the purpose of having officers as Ward, Local Government and State executive councils.
Recall that the Plateau State High Court had in 2022 ordered PDP to conduct elections for selection of officers for Wards, Local Governments and the State chapter of the party, which was not complied with.
The Court of Appeal said that disobedience and disregard to clear lawful order of Court was fatal because PDP hurriedly put an illegal Caretaker Committee in place in utter confrontation to the Court judgement.
Specifically, the Appellate Court held that PDP did not sponsor any candidate for the Plateau South Senatorial District election because it was not qualified to stand for any election as at February 25, 2023.
“As at February 25, PDP was on a faulty background at nomination of candidate for any election. It has no legal foundation upon which its candidate nomination can stand.
“A positive order of Court must be complied with unless such order is voided and set aside by a higher Court.
“In the instant case, the lawful existing and subsisting Court order was that PDP should conduct elections in line with provisions of the law to have officers at Wards, Local Governments and State Council but the party for reasons best known to it, opted to go against the order.
“I cannot but agree totally with judgement of the Plateau National Assembly Elections Tribunal which in its judgement of September 11, 2023 nullified the participation of PDP in the February 25 National Assembly Election,” the Judge held.
The Court of Appeal subsequently upheld the declaration of Simon Lalong as the duly elected Senator for Plateau South Senatorial District, having scored the second highest number of votes at the election.
Other Justices of the Court of Appeal, who agreed with the judgement, were Mohammed Mustapha and Okon Abang.