Certificates of Return earlier issued by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to three lawmakers in the Plateau State House of Assembly have been declared invalid.
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, Peter Azi, and obtained by our correspondent in Jos, INEC said it decided to invalidate the lawmakers certificates of return based on the judgment of the Court of Appeal, Jos Judicial Division, which nullified their elections on December 5.
It would be recalled that in the case of Langtang South, the Appeal Court nullified the results of the entire 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 the 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 Kwanga, and dated December 14, stressed that “the effect of these judgments is that the Certificates of Return issued to the members representing these constituencies are no longer valid.”
The letter further maintained that “the commission shall conduct and conclude elections in respect of these constituencies within 90 days as ordered by the court.”
But sources close to the resident electoral commissioner, however, informed journalists in Jos yesterday that there was more to INEC’s letter to the speaker.
According to sources, the electoral body was angry with the leadership of the House for allowing the ousted lawmakers to continue with their legislative functions in violation of the court’s judgment.
“We discovered that they have been performing their legislative functions despite their sack by the Court of Appeal which is the highest court in their own case.”

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