The Court of Appeal in Jos, Plateau State, yesterday upheld the Election Petition Tribunal’s decision to remove Agah from office and ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to reinstate Muhammad Alkali of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) as the legitimate winner of the byelection on February 26, 2022.
Musa Agah is the Peoples Democratic Party’s representative for Bassa/Jos North Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives.
The tribunal had in September, 2022 held that the PDP candidate was not validly nominated by his party, having a subsisting judgment of a High Court that the PDP had no valid structure in Plateau State to nominate a candidate.
The tribunal also ruled that there was over-voting in the results declared by INEC that announced Agah as the winner of the bye-election.
But the PDP candidate and his party approached the appellate court and urged it to dismiss the judgment of the tribunal.
Ruling on the case yesterday, the Court of Appeal upheld the judgement of the tribunal and insisted that the nomination of the PDP candidate was an error as the state chapter of the party lacked the structure to produce a candidate for the election.
According to the Appeal Court, the PDP took very important things for granted when it failed to comply with an earlier judgement which directed the party to go back and do the right thing by constituting legally acceptable EXCO of the party.
The Appeal Court presided over by three Justices headed by Justice Teni Hassan, therefore, ordered INEC to withdraw the Certificate of Return earlier issued to Agah of the PDP, and issue the same to Gwoni Mohammed of the PRP as the legally elected candidate for the election.
On the issue of over-voting during the election, the appellate court ruled that the claim could not be substantiated.