The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Napoleon Bali, its senatorial candidate for the Plateau South Senatorial District on February 25th, were disqualified from running in the National Assembly Election by the Court of Appeal in Abuja for failing to obey a valid court order.
A three-member panel headed by Justice Elfreda Williams-Dawodu delivered the ruling, declaring that the votes cast for the PDP in the election were illegal and squandered. They also named Simon Lalong, the former governor of Plateau State, as the senator for the Plateau South Senatorial District.
Lalong, running on the ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC), finished second in the Senate race held in February.
The PDP and its candidate, according to Justice Williams-Dawodu, have no legal basis to run in the election since they disregarded a Plateau High Court ruling that the party must have proper elections in order to select representatives for state councils, local governments, and wards.
The Plateau High Court had mandated in 2022 that the PDP hold elections to choose officers for local governments, wards, and the party’s state chapter. This ruling was not followed.
According to the Court of Appeal, the PDP swiftly established an illegal caretaker committee in direct opposition to the court ruling, demonstrating that disobedience and disdain for a clear and valid court decision were fatal.
The appellate court specifically ruled that the PDP was ineligible to run for office as of February 25, 2023, and hence did not support any candidate for the Plateau South Senatorial District.
After receiving the second-highest number of votes in the election, Lalong was subsequently declared the legitimate senator for the Plateau South Senatorial District by the Court of Appeal.
Both Mohammed Mustapha and Okon Abang, two more Justices of the Court of Appeal, concurred with the ruling.
In the administration of President Bola Tinubu, Lalong, the immediate former governor of Plateau State, serves as minister of labour.