In a significant turn of events, the Plateau State Election Petition Tribunal, sitting in Jos, has removed Rt. Hon. Moses Sule, a member of the PDP, from his position as the Speaker of the Plateau State House of Assembly. The tribunal based its decision on the PDP’s failure to comply with a court order mandating the party to conduct a fresh election for its state executive.
The three-member tribunal delivered a unanimous judgment, stating that the PDP lacked the necessary structure in Plateau State to field a candidate for the election. As a result, it ruled that the votes cast for the PDP in the March 18, 2023 election for the Plateau State House of Assembly in Mikang Constituency were effectively wasted.
In its ruling, the tribunal directed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to withdraw the certificate of return from Rt. Hon. Moses Sule and award it to Hon. Naanlong Daniel Gapyil of the APC, who had come second in the same election.
Following the tribunal’s verdict, Sunday S. Obende, the legal counsel representing the petitioner, expressed gratitude for the diligent pursuit of justice. He thanked the tribunal members for their thorough handling of the case and prayed for their continued wisdom and promotion.
It’s worth noting that Hon. Naanlong Daniel Gapyil, the immediate former Majority Leader of the Plateau State House of Assembly, had filed the petition against INEC, Hon. Moses Sule, and the PDP. His petition cited three grounds for disqualification: the lack of a valid PDP structure in Plateau State to nominate him, instances of over-voting in several polling units across the constituency during the election, and other irregularities.
Responding to the tribunal’s decision, Hon. Naanlong Daniel Gapyil dedicated his victory to both the people of Mikang, who had faith in his ability to bring democratic representation to their constituency, and to a higher power. He highlighted his past service in the 8th and 9th assemblies as evidence of his commitment to the people’s welfare.
This development has undoubtedly sent shockwaves through Plateau State’s political landscape, with implications for the leadership of the State House of Assembly. The political fallout from this decision is likely to reverberate across the state’s political circles in the coming days and weeks.