The Labour Party has appealed against a recent ruling by the Federal High Court in Kano that invalidated the candidacy of Alex Otti, who was elected as the governor-elect of Abia State in the March 18 governorship election.
The court’s decision was based on a case with the reference number FHC/KN/CS/107/2023, which was initiated by Mr Ibrahim Haruna Ibrahim against the Labour Party and the Independent National Electoral Commission.
The court determined that the selection process that led to the emergence of Alex Otti and other Labour Party candidates as winners did not comply with the requirements outlined in the 2022 electoral act.
One of the key arguments presented in the lawsuit was that the Labour Party failed to submit its membership register to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) at least 30 days before their primaries, which the court deemed to be a violation, resulting in the nullification of the entire selection process.
The plaintiff also sought the court’s intervention to invalidate the Certificate of Return issued to all Labour Party candidates and instructed INEC to declare the first runner-up as the winner in all constituencies where the Labour Party emerged victorious.
Justice Yunusa stated, “A party that has not complied with the provisions of the electoral act cannot be considered to have a candidate in an election and, therefore, cannot be declared the winner. Hence, the votes attributed to the first defendant [the Labour Party] are considered wasted votes.”
However, the judge declined to issue a Certificate of Return to any individual in Abia State, as the parties involved in the state were not before the court.
In response to the ruling, the Labour Party’s legal representative, Umeh Kalu, SAN, filed an appeal on May 22, urging the court to overturn the decision made by the trial court.
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