Senate Minority Leader loses seat as Appeal Court orders fresh election

Simon Mwadkwon, the PDP Senator for Plateau North and the Senate Minority Leader, has lost his seat after the Appeal Court in Abuja nullified his election. The court said that Mwadkwon was not properly nominated by his party and ordered a new election within 90 days.

The court gave its verdict on Sunday, October 22, 2023, on the appeals filed by Chris Giwa of the APC and Gyang Zi of the LP, who contested Mwadkwon’s win in the February 25, 2023 senatorial election.

The appellants had challenged the ruling of the Election Petitions Tribunal in Jos, Plateau State, which had upheld Mwadkwon’s election on September 6, 2023. The tribunal had thrown out their petitions for being meritless and failing to prove their accusations of electoral fraud, forgery, and perjury against Mwadkwon and INEC.

The appellants argued that Mwadkwon was not eligible to run for the election because the PDP had no structure in Plateau North and did not obey a High Court order that directed the party to hold a valid congress in the senatorial district. They claimed that 12 local government areas did not take part in the said congress.

Justice E. Daudu, who read the lead judgement, agreed with the appellants and held that the PDP did not fully obey the court order and could not have validly chosen Mwadkwon for the election. He said that to prevent chaos, the court must respect the order of another court.

“I agree with the appellant that the third respondent (PDP) had no valid structure and could not have claimed to have validly nominated the second respondent (Mwadkwon) for the election. Given the findings of this court, the appeal, therefore, succeeds as the court order was not complied with. The first respondent (INEC) is hereby ordered to conduct another senatorial election in Plateau North within 90 days,” Daudu ruled.

The Appeal Court judgement has consequences for the political situation of Plateau State and the nation as a whole. It will decide the future of Mwadkwon’s second term in office and his role as the Senate Minority Leader. It will also affect the chances of Giwa and Zi, who are vying to represent Plateau North in the Senate.

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