The Abia State governor-elect, Alex Otti, has faced a setback as the Federal High Court in Kano nullified his candidature in the March 18 governorship election.
News About Nigeria reports that in response, the Labour Party, to which Otti belongs, has filed an appeal against the court’s decision.
The court ruling was a result of a case brought by Ibrahim Haruna Ibrahim against the Labour Party and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The court found that the process by which Alex Otti and other Labour Party candidates were selected did not meet the requirements outlined in the 2022 electoral act.
An important issue raised in the lawsuit was the Labour Party’s failure to submit its membership register to INEC at least 30 days before their primaries.
This failure was considered a violation of the electoral act and led the court to invalidate the entire selection process.
The applicant also requested the court’s intervention to revoke the Certificate of Return issued to all Labour Party candidates and instructed INEC to declare the first runner-up as the winner in constituencies where the Labour Party had emerged victorious.
Justice Yunusa stated that “a party that has not complied with the provisions of the electoral act cannot be deemed to have a candidate in an election and therefore cannot be declared the winner.”
Consequently, the votes attributed to the Labour Party were deemed invalid. However, the judge did not order the issuance of a Certificate of Return to any individual in Abia State, as the parties involved in the election were not directly before the court.
In response to the court’s ruling, the Labour Party’s legal counsel, Umeh Kalu, SAN, filed an appeal on May 22, urging the court to overturn the judgement of the trial court.