The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday declared invalid the certificates of return earlier issued by the Commission to three Plateau lawmakers who were declared winners during the last general election in April this year.
Our investigation revealed that the affected lawmakers include Mwansat Istifanus Caleb, PDP, Pankshin South; Mrs Alice Asaije Dimlong, APC, Pankshin North and Vincent Bulus, PDP Langtang South.
According to a letter written to the Speaker of Plateau State House of Assembly, Peter Azi, and obtained by newsmen in Jos yesterday, INEC said it decided to invalidate the lawmakers’ certificates of return based on the judgement of Jos Judicial Division of the Court of Appeal which nullified their elections on 5th December, 2015.
It would be recalled that in the case of Langtang South, the Appeal Court nullified the results of the entire state constituency and ruled that the decision of the lower tribunal to the effect that the appellant’s ( Vincent Bulus’) conviction and sentence for the offence of cheating contrary to section 324 of the penal code disqualified him from contesting the election under 1999 constitution while in the case of Pankshin North and South,the Appeal Court ruled that a fresh election be conducted in the two constituencies, but only in Nyelleng and Pyabor polling units respectively.
INEC’s letter which was signed by the state Resident Electoral Commissioner,Mr Godwin M. Kwanga, and dated December 14, 2015 stressed that “the effect of these judgements is that the certificates of return issued to the members representing these constituencies are no longer valid.”