The Court of Appeal in Abuja has affirmed the judgment of the tribunal that declared Simon Lalong, the Minister of Labour, as the rightful winner of the Plateau South Senatorial election.
This decision comes after a series of legal battles following the initial declaration of Napoleon Bali of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the winner of the election.
The tribunal, in its ruling, upheld Lalong’s claim that the PDP lacked the necessary party structure, rendering its participation in the election invalid.
Justice Muhammad Tukur, who delivered the unanimous judgment, deemed the votes garnered by Bali during the February 25, 2023, general elections as wasted votes.
Following the tribunal’s decision, Bali proceeded to the Court of Appeal, seeking a reversal of the judgment.
However, the three-man panel, led by Justice Elfrieda Williams-Dawodu, maintained that the tribunal’s scrutiny of the matter, both as a pre and post-election issue, was warranted.
Justice Williams-Dawodu further emphasized the imperative nature of adhering to court orders, citing Section 287 of the Nigerian Constitution.
She reiterated that the PDP’s failure to comply with the directive for a new congress in the state was a crucial factor in the decision-making process.
“Section 287 of the Nigerian Constitution said all are expected to observe orders of the court. The order was in the realm. It is binding all persons. It is immutable and until it is set aside and must be complied with.
“This issue is hereby resolved against the appellant. Invalidly nominated candidates cannot attract lawful votes. This appeal fails. The tribunal judgment is hereby affirmed,” she concluded.