The Appeal Court in Abuja has confirmed the removal of three Plateau State lawmakers from the House of Representatives. The court ruled on Tuesday that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) violated a court order when it nominated Peter Gyendeng, Musa Bagos and Beni Lar as its candidates for the February 25 National Assembly election.
The three PDP members represented Barkin-Ladi/Riyom, Jos South/Jos East and Langtang North/Langtang South Federal Constituencies respectively. The court said they were not validly nominated by the party, which had been ordered by a High Court in Plateau State to conduct a fresh congress involving all the 17 Local Government Areas in the state.
The court noted that the PDP ignored the order and excluded 12 LGAs from the congress due to “legal issues”. It said this amounted to a breach of the order, which was binding and sacrosanct.
The court upheld the decision of the Plateau State National Assembly Elections Petition Tribunal, which had earlier declared that the votes cast for the PDP candidates were wasted and that the candidates of other parties with the second highest votes should be declared winners.
The court therefore affirmed the victory of Dalyop Chollom and Ajang Alfred Iliya of the Labour Party for Barkin-Ladi/Riyom and Jos South/Jos East Federal Constituencies, and Vincent Bulus Venman of the APC for Langtang North/Langtang South Federal Constituency.
The court also fined the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) N2million for filing appeals to challenge the tribunal’s judgement. It said the INEC was supposed to be an impartial umpire and not to support any candidate