A’ Court Sacks Senator Bali, Declares Labour Minister Senator 

A’ Court Sacks Senator Bali, Declares Labour Minister Senator 

Alex Enumah in Abuja 

The Court of Appeal, Abuja on Tuesday upheld the judgment of the tribunal that nullified the participation of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its Senatorial candidate in the February 25 National Assembly Election, Napoleon Binkap Bali.

A three-man panel of the appellate court in a judgment agreed with the findings of the Plateau National and State Assembly Election Petition that the PDP ought not to have contested the Plateau South Senatorial District election on grounds of disobedience of court’s order.

The appellate court after sacking Bali, affirmed the declaration of the Minister of Labour, Simon Lalong as the authentic representative for Plateau South Senatorial District.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared PDP’s Bali as winner of the February 25 senatorial election for Plateau South Senatorial District, having won majority of votes cast in the poll.

But the tribunal in a judgment in the petition filed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and his candidate, Lalong, voided the primary election that produced Bali for been unlawful, illegal, null and void.

The tribunal then went ahead to declare the APC and Lalong, who came second as lawful winner of the senatorial election; an action which provoked the instant appeal by Bali.

However, the appellate court in its judgment delivered by Justice Elfaida Williams-Dawodu, held that the appellants failed to provide convincing evidence why the judgment of the tribunal should be set aside.

Besides, the appellate court declared as unlawful and wasted all votes cast for PDP in the election and declared the former Governor as the Senator for the Plateau South Senatorial District.

According to Justice Williams-Dawodu, the PDP and its Senatorial candidate have no legal ground to participate in the election having failed to obey the judgment of a Plateau High Court that the party should conduct lawful elections for the purpose of having officers for Wards, Local Governments and State Council.

The Plateau High Court had in 2022 ordered PDP to conduct elections for the selection of officers for Wards, Local Governments and the State Chapter of the party which was not complied with.

The Court of Appeal said that disobedience and disregard to clear lawful order of Court was fatal because PDP hurriedly put an illegal caretaker committee in place in utter confrontation to the court judgment.

Specifically, the appellate court held that PDP did not sponsor any candidate for the Plateau South Senatorial District because it was not qualified to stand for any election as at February 25, 2023.

“As at February 25, PDP was on a faulty background at nomination of candidate for any election. It has no legal foundation upon which it’s candidate nomination can stand.

“A positive order of court must be complied with unless such order is voided and set aside by a higher court. 

“In the instant case, the lawful existing and subsisting court order was that PDP should conduct elections in line with provisions of the law to have officers at Wards, Local Governments and State Council but the party for reasons best known to it, opted to go against the order.

“I cannot but agreed totally with judgment of the Plateau National Assembly Election Tribunal which in its judgment of September 11, 2023 nullified the participation of PDP in the February 25 National Assembly Election”.

The Court of Appeal subsequently upheld the declaration of Simon Lalong as the lawful Senator for Plateau South Senatorial District having scored second highest votes at the election.

Other Justices of the Court of Appeal who agreed with the judgment are Mohammed Mustapha and Okon Abang.

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