The Court of Appeal has imposed a penalty of N2 million against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for its decision to file appeals challenging the judgment of the tribunal. The court found that INEC should not have filed an appeal in support of any candidate, emphasizing its role as an independent arbiter.
In a significant ruling, the Court of Appeal affirmed Vincent Bulus Venman, a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as the representative of Langtang North/Langtang South Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives in Plateau state.
Furthermore, the appellate court expressed its disapproval of INEC’s decision to appeal the judgment of the national and state houses of assembly elections petition tribunal in Jos. This tribunal had upheld Venman as the legitimate House of Representatives member.
The case stemmed from the nullification of the election victory of Beni Lar, a candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), by the Tribunal. The nullification was based on the PDP’s failure to conduct a valid congress, rendering it ineligible to sponsor Lar as a candidate.
Consequently, the Tribunal declared Vincent Venman of the APC as the elected representative for Langtang North/Langtang South Federal Constituency. INEC subsequently filed an appeal against the Tribunal’s judgment.
A three-member panel of the Court of Appeal, led by Justice Williams Daudu, expressed disappointment with INEC’s decision to appeal the tribunal’s verdict, stating that INEC’s role as an independent electoral body should not have led to such an appeal.
Ultimately, the Court of Appeal’s judgment stands as a significant development in Plateau’s political landscape, with Vincent Venman being officially affirmed as the House of Representatives member for Langtang North/Langtang South Federal Constituency. The penalty imposed on INEC underscores the court’s stance on the role of an impartial electoral body in electoral disputes.