By Milcah Tanimu
The political landscape witnessed tension on Sunday as the Court of Appeal in Abuja ousted Governor Caleb Mutfwang of Plateau State, resulting in a clash between the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC). In a significant judgment, the Court declared Nentawe Goshwe of the APC as the valid winner of the March 18 governorship election, prompting reactions from both political parties.
This development marked the third removal of an opposition governor within three days, with similar actions against the governors of Zamfara and Kano states. The APC defended the court decisions, asserting that accusations of attempting to create a one-party state were baseless.
Governor Mutfwang, who secured 525,299 votes in the election, was challenged by Goshwe over allegations of invalid nomination and non-compliance with the Electoral Act. The Court of Appeal, led by Justice Elphreda Williams-Dawodu, ruled in favor of Goshwe, citing irregularities in the PDP’s nomination process and a lack of compliance with court orders.
In response to the verdict, the PDP criticized the judgments, claiming they were not aligned with the law and accusing the APC of attempting to influence institutions. The APC, in turn, dismissed these allegations, emphasizing the independence of the judiciary.
Despite the setback, Governor Mutfwang considered the judgment a temporary obstacle, expressing confidence in the Supreme Court’s appeal process. The APC celebrated the ruling as a new era for Plateau State, urging magnanimity in victory and emphasizing their commitment to good governance, security, and development.
As political tensions rise, various stakeholders, including the PDP, APC, and other parties, expressed divergent views on the judiciary’s role, with some raising concerns about the perceived influence on opposition parties. The situation has sparked debates on the credibility and independence of the judiciary in the country.