Massive protests broke out in Jos, the capital of Plateau State, on Sunday, in response to the triumph of the All Progressives Congress (APC) gubernatorial candidate, Dr. Nentawe Yilwatda, over Governor Caleb Mutfwang of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the Court of Appeal in Abuja.
Naija News reported that the Appellant Court had, in a unanimous judgement, nullified the election of Governor Mutfwang over the PDP’s lack of structure and non-obedience of a Court order at the time of his nomination for the March 18 governorship election in the State.
Before Sunday’s verdict, security measures were heightened across key locations in the state capital, with stern-looking security personnel stationed at major street junctions.
However, following the announcement of the judgement, a sense of tension gripped the State, with people gathering in groups to discuss the unfolding developments.
In Jos South Local Government Area (LGA), supporters of the PDP assembled in large numbers at Gyel Roundabout to express their discontent with the verdict.
A similar protest unfolded at Angwan Rukuba junction in Jos North and Riyom LGAs within the state capital.
During the protests, a youth leader from Mangu LGA, Hon. Pankyes Yamsat, conveyed their decision to demonstrate against the Appeal Court’s judgement, which resulted in the removal of Governor Mutfwang.
He explained that the people of the State voted for Mutfwang, the people’s choice, but their mandate has been truncated at the Appeal Court.
“The mandate of the people of Plateau has been stolen, and we call on the Supreme Court to ensure justice is served with the view to reverse the judgement of the Appeal Court for peace to reign in the state,” he stated.
Meanwhile, the embattled Plateau State governor, Caleb Mutfwang, has described the verdict of the Appeal Court that nullified his election as a temporary setback that will not deter him from repositioning the State on the path of unity, peace and progress.
He expressed strong optimism that the mandate overwhelmingly given to him by the people of Plateau State would be restored, as he has instructed his legal team to file an appeal at the Supreme Court.
Mutfwang, in a statement signed by his director of press and public affairs, Gyang Bere, admonished citizens of the State and supporters of the PDP to remain calm even as he assured them that as long as God remains on the throne, the mandate of the people will be preserved and protected.
He reiterated his commitment to the rule of law and assured the people that there is light at the end of the tunnel, as he has unwavering faith in the judiciary and the constitution of Nigeria.
Governor Mutfwang concluded with a strong appeal to supporters and citizens of the State to maintain law and order. He affirmed that Plateau will be victorious to the glory of God and reassured of his commitment to continually serve the State with dedication and integrity.
On its part, the State chapter of the APC, in their reaction to the victory of Nentawe in a statement issued in Jos by the party’s state publicity secretary, Sylvanus Namang, called on all its members to celebrate the victory with utmost modesty and decorum.
According to Namang, the anger and disaffection which prevailed in the wake of the appeal should be put behind them as Plateau State was reduced to a laughing stock, which is most regrettable.
The statement called on security agencies in the State to be on red alert and vigilant to avert any breakdown of law and order while commending the Court of Appeal Judges for their meticulous, impartial and very professional handling of the appeal.