The APC governorship candidate in the February 25th, 2023 election in Plateau State, Nentawe Yilwatda, has stated that there was a grave miscarriage of justice by the governorship election tribunal.
A statement made available to this medium and was signed by Shittu Bamaiyi stated that in the Notice of Appeal filed by his lawyer, Professor Kayode Olatoke SAN, Nentawe claims that the tribunal in striking out his witnesses statements on oath and documents presented, were in clear breach of his right to fair hearing and fair trial.
According to him, it was wrong to hold that Emmanuel Go’ar and Emmanuel Macham are not witnesses of the tribunal but his own.
Nentawe contended that, the tribunal came to a wrong conclusion in that decision, because according to him, the two mentioned persons were subpoenaed witnesses.
He argued that the two witnesses could not have gone to the court to give evidence, without being compelled by the order of the tribunal to do so .
He pointed out that the two persons are not members of his political party but that of PDP .
According to him, the fact that the two witnesses were issued with subpoena to attend the tribunal upon his request, it did not vitiate the fact that they were witnesses of the tribunal.
Nentawe maintained that, Messrs Go’ar and Macham were subpoenaed as adversaries, whose witness depositions cannot accompany his petition as wrongly held by the tribunal.
He argued that, subpoenaed witnesses are regulated by the provisions of the Electoral Act, and the Federal High Court Civil Procedure Rules, 2019,adding that the period of 21 days within which an election petition must be filed does not apply to the two subpoenaed witnesses.
The appellant stated that, the tribunal misconceived his unique case, in challenging the sponsorship of Caleb Mutfwang to contest the governorship election.
Nentawe disclosed that he is not challenging the procedures for the purported PDP congress, but the non-qualification of Mutfwang to contest the election having not been duly sponsored.
He argued that, having been duly established in accordance with the extant orders of the Plateau State High Court through documentary evidence and oral testimonies of his witnesses, his petition is hinged on the validity or otherwise of the repeated congress of the 25th September 2021.
The appellant further argued that the judgements of the Court of Appeal in respect of PDP’s congresses have not been altered, and such, the decisions ought to be binding on the tribunal in arriving at its conclusion.
He maintained that the exhibits tendered by the PDP, lied against themselves, as they showed that the purported congress was held in only five, out of the seventeen local government areas of the state.
Nentawe pointed out that the Court of Appeal, in no unmistakable term in its judgement of 28th October 2022, held that the PDP has not complied with the order of the Jos High Court and accordingly proceeded to nullify the purported sponsorship made by the PDP for its candidate.
The appellant refused to accept the position of the tribunal, that he agreed that there was valid repeated congress through his witnesses, pointing out that in the face of subsisting judgements of the Court of Appeal,he could not have admitted such a fact.
He added that the video clip presented before the tribunal did not show evidence of voting by delegates, accreditation, collation of votes, noting that the video cannot overrule the judgement of the Court of Appeal.
Nentawe also did not agree with the decision of the tribunal, in saying that there was no evidence before it to show that the governorship election was not conducted in substantial compliance with the electoral Act.
According to him,he demonstrated that there was over voting as shown in the form EC8As as presented and identified by his respective witnesses, adding that duplicated results of voters registers and extracts from BVAS machine devices were tendered before the tribunal.
He maintained that there is overwhelming evidence that the governorship election was not conducted in substantial compliance with the Electoral Act.
Nentawe further maintained that, an election where there was no proper accreditation,over voting, non-collation of results and non -usage of voters registers as well as the person declared winner was not qualified to contest, cannot be said to be conducted in substantial compliance with the Electoral Act 2022.
He believes that the judgement of the trial tribunal is against the weight of evidence, and therefore prayed the Court to allow his appeal by setting aside the entire judgement of the trial tribunal.