Following a Federal High Court ruling in Kano that nullified the candidature of the Abia State governor-elect, Alex Otti, in the March 18 governorship election, the Labour Party has filed an appeal against the judgement.
The court’s ruling stemmed from a case brought by Ibrahim Haruna Ibrahim against the Labour Party and the Independent National Electoral Commission.
The court determined that the selection process leading to the emergence of Abia State Governor-elect, Alex Otti, and other Labur Party candidates did not comply with the requirements stipulated in the 2022 electoral act.
One of the crucial points raised in the lawsuit was the Labour Party’s failure to submit its membership register to INEC at least 30 days prior to their primaries, which the court deemed a violation, thereby invalidating the entire selection process.
The applicant further sought the court’s intervention to set aside the Certificate of Return issued to all Labour Party candidates and direct INEC to declare the first runner-up as the winner in all constituencies where the Labour Party emerged victorious.
Justice Yunusa pronounced, “A party that has not complied with the provisions of the electoral act cannot be considered to have a candidate in an election, and thus, cannot be declared the winner. Therefore, the votes attributed to the first defendant [Labour Party] are wasted votes.” However, the judge declined to order the issuance of a Certificate of Return to any individual in Abia State, stating that “the parties that participated in Abia State are not parties before this court.”
Responding to the ruling, the Labour Party’s legal counsel, Umeh Kalu, SAN, filed an appeal on May 22, urging the court to set aside the judgement of the trial court.