Senate Minority Leader representing Plateau-North Senatorial District in Plateau State, Simon Mwadkwon, has said that the judgement given by the appeal court annulling his election is merely a temporary setback, and he will return to his position in the Senate.
In an interview with ARISE NEWS on Thursday, the Senate Minority Leader said that the 2022 Electoral Act said non-qualification it is not a ground for one to be disqualified from an election, noting that as far as one has been cleared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Department of State Services (DSS), section 134 of the 2022 electoral act doesn’t allow for the annulment of any election based on any act from before the election.
Mwadkwon said, “No one is going to take my position because I was duly elected by my people, and I know how bad the citizens of plateau north are feeling at the moment. That judgement was just a temporary setback, I’m going back to the senate by the grace of God Almighty, because if you look at the votes that I scored, the votes differ between me and all my opponents, it is well above 97,00 votes, and I want to assure you, if I go for this re run, I will score more than what I scored in the former elections. So it’s a temporary setback caused by the judiciary which I strongly feel that that judgement shouldn’t have been like that.”
The Senator said he believes that the justices were being influenced by several factors which made them give this judgement, as he said, “I want to believe that my Lord Justices would have been forced by any of these factors to give this judgement.”
When he was asked about his eligibility to contest in the upcoming rerun, Mwadkwon said, “The ruling of the court is that PDPs election has been nullified, and that all political parties shall participate in the rerun fresh elections. It’s like it’s a fresh election. I don’t know why the court in the first place decided that our election should be annulled, they said on the grounds that we disobeyed a court order. And I’ve told you, section 134 of the electoral act does not make that a ground for disqualification for annulment of election in the first place.”
He said that the tribunal is supposed to be saddled with investigating what happened on the day of the election, and on with pre-election matters, which, he said, automatically made their judgement wrong.
The senator then said, “I am not trying to demean the integrity of the court, but I am just telling you what is reality in this country. It’s a reality that is happening in this country, because if you look at this clearly, very very clear, the law is explicit about this thing, about what the appeal court should do. The law is explicit about this. They are supposed to entertain what happened on the election day, period. They are not supposed to go back to pre-election matters. Why do you think they went back to pre-election matters when the law is clear that they are supposed to look at what happened on the election day, exclusively on the election day, and that will determine what they will give.”
Mwadkwon, who also serves as the Minority leader of the senate, was sacked from his position by a three-member panel of the appeal court on Monday on the grounds that he was not qualified to contest in the election as 12 Local Government Areas did not participate in the PDP primaries.
The panel then ordered a rerun of the election in the district within 90 days.