Court Judgements: Between Gagdi and Muftwang: Who Wants Our Democracy Dead ?

By James Pam

In a democratic society, the rule of law is the bedrock upon which the system thrives. It ensures fairness, justice, and equal opportunity for all citizens. However, recent events surrounding the judgments between Yusuf Gagdi and Caleb Mutfwang have raised concerns about the integrity of our democracy.

Yusuf Gagdi, a member of APC political party, has been unfairly targeted by the PDP. This vendetta seems to stem from their own mistakes and mishandling of electoral matters during the 2023 elections. By shifting the blame onto Gagdi, the PDP aims to divert attention from their own errors and create a scapegoat for their failures. It is crucial to recognize the politics at play and the ulterior motives behind their actions.

Yusuf Gagdi has found himself at the center of a politically charged campaign against him, orchestrated by the PDP. The PDP, reeling from its defeat in the 2023 elections, has sought to deflect attention from its own shortcomings by scapegoating Gagdi. This concerted effort to tarnish Gagdi’s reputation and shift blame for the PDP’s failures is a clear indication of their political maneuvering.

The core loop that the PDP hope to harness into pulling Gagdi down was a harmless boastful statement which was misinterpreted in another narrative, which is expected to aid their weaponry as a fireback in undoing their own personal errors.

The dismissal of Caleb Mutfwang was a result of a thorough examination of the facts and adherence to established legal procedures.

Recently, the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja sacked the governor of Plateau State, Caleb Mutfwang.

It can be recalled that Mutfwang of the Peoples Democratic Party had 525,299 votes while the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Nentawe Goshwe, polled 481,370 votes in the March 18 governorship election in the state.

Goshwe challenged the victory of Mutfwang at the tribunal claiming that the governor was not validly nominated and sponsored by his party. He also said there was non-compliance with the Electoral Act in the election.

A three-member panel of the tribunal headed by Justice R. Irele-Ifijeh, in a unanimous decision, dismissed the petition for lacking in merit, but after appealing the tribunal judgement, its judgment on Sunday, the three-member panel of the Court of Appeal led by Justice Elfrieda Williams-Dawodu, citing Section 177 of the Constitution, held that the governor was not validly sponsored by the PDP for the election.

She held that the party violated a court order directing it to conduct a valid congress in the 17 local government areas of that state. She said there was no evidence that the PDP complied with a subsisting High Court order which had directed it to conduct a valid party congress prior to its sponsorship of the governorship and other candidates. The court also noted that under Section 134 of the Electoral Act, it is the sole right of a political party to sponsor its candidate having met the requirements to do so.

The further nullification of the election of PDP members in the house of representatives by the court over invalid nomination has proven a convincing angle of the argument that the PDP travails in Plateau are self-inflicted, as the party failed to adhere to due process in conducting its primary election, which was the basis of the court’s verdicts.

One could finally see that the sacking of Caleb Mutfwang, a member of the PDP, was based on the correct application of the law. It is essential to emphasize that justice should be blind to party affiliations and focused solely on upholding the principles of fairness and justice. The court’s decision to dismiss Mutfwang was not driven by political bias but rather by a thorough examination of the facts and adherence to legal procedures. It is worthy of note that the President of the Court of Appeal is not a member of the panel handling the appeals from Plateau State and there is nowhere it can be imagined that she lobbied their justices to give the sound verdicts that have been given on the appeals before them.

The statement Gagdi is being crucified for is just what any smart politician that comes from a party that has properly tied every loose end would say just to destabilize every opposition. Gagdi was sure of no shortcomings in virtually all his party’s candidates that made it through the election. He was so confident that APC candidates have all it takes to prove their legitimacy in any court of law irrespective of how many times they are challenged. This was what birthed the utterance of, “We have gone to Appeal Court and the final destination is the Supreme Court and we will meet there. That is where we will know whom they know and they will know whom we know”.

Everyone definitely knows that PDP wouldn’t have baited an eyelid on such statement if their candidates had won their appeals, but they failed woefully in their assignment, and now looking for an excuse to redeem their pathetic failure.

Allegations were made against the Governor of Plateau State, suggesting that he attempted to influence the outcome of the court proceedings in his favor. This kind of interference undermines the independence of the judiciary and erodes the trust citizens have in the democratic process. If proven true, such actions should be condemned, and those responsible should be held accountable for their attempts to obstruct justice.

The courts have upheld the principles of fairness and justice, demonstrating that political affiliations should not influence the outcome of legal proceedings.

This serves as a reminder that our democracy should not be compromised by personal interests or political maneuvering.

The Gagdi-Mutfwang case serves as a wake-up call for the preservation of our democracy. It highlights the importance of a fair and impartial judiciary, free from external influences. We must remain vigilant in protecting the integrity of our legal system and ensuring that justice prevails over political expediency. By doing so, we safeguard the principles upon which our democracy was built.

In conclusion, the Mutfwang-PDP court judgements have revealed a complex web of political motivations and potential attempts to derail justice. Upholding the correct application of the law and preserving the integrity of our democracy should be paramount.

This further lays credence to the need to eradicate godfatherism in our political space. The need to field the rightful candidate to represent a political party, and not an unprepared loyalist that won’t have a solid defense when the storm comes raging.

Let us remain steadfast in our commitment to fairness, justice, and the principles that underpin our democratic society. Only then can we ensure a thriving democracy that benefits all citizens.

Pam wrote this piece from Abuja.

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