The Plateau State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, led by Justice Sunday, upheld Caleb Mutfwang as the legitimate governor of the state in its Friday ruling. The tribunal dismissed the petition submitted by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its gubernatorial candidate, Nentawe Yiltwatda.
The Independent National Electoral Commission had declared Caleb Mutfwang of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the winner of the March 18 gubernatorial election, with 525,299 votes, surpassing 17 other candidates, including Yiltwatda, who garnered 481,370 votes.
Yiltwatda and the APC had contested the election results, aiming to disqualify Mutfwang and be declared the victor, asserting that they had received the highest valid votes.
Their primary arguments were that Caleb was not validly nominated by the PDP due to the party’s lack of a proper structure and that there was alleged over-voting in Mutfwang’s favor.
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However, the tribunal concluded that Yiltwatda and the APC failed to substantiate their claims. It held that the PDP had a solid party structure, having conducted a repeat congress in 2021, making Mutfwang’s nomination valid. Additionally, the tribunal rejected the argument of over-voting, noting that the total number of votes cast matched the number of registered voters.
Furthermore, the tribunal found that some witnesses presented by the petitioners lacked credibility, as they were not members of the PDP and could not provide accurate information about the party’s internal affairs.
It’s worth noting that a previous petition filed by the NNPP candidate against Mutfwang’s election had also been dismissed by the tribunal earlier, citing a lack of merit.