A Federal High Court in Kano, presided by Justice M N Yunusa, has declared the candidacy of Abia State Governor-elect, Dr Alex Otti, and all Labour Party candidates in Abia and Kano States as null and void.
The court ruled that their emergence did not comply with the provisions of the Electoral Act of 2022.
The court case, filed by Mr Ibrahim Haruna Ibrahim against the Labour Party and the Independent National Electoral Commission or INEC, argued that the Labour Party failed to submit its membership register to INEC within the required 30-day period before their primaries.
As a result, the court deemed the entire process invalid.
The Judge stated, “A party that has not followed the rules of the Electoral Act cannot have a candidate in an election and cannot be declared the winner. Therefore, the votes credited to the 1st defendant [Labour Party] are considered wasted votes.“
Alex Otti, the Abia State Governor-elect, assured the people of Abia not to be alarmed by the court’s ruling, calling it a “kangaroo judgement.”
Otti emphasised that the arrangements for his swearing-in on May 29 are proceeding as planned. He expressed confidence that the actions of those against democracy would not undermine the will of the people of Abia.
Similarly, Hon. Ceekay Igara, the Chairman of the Labour Party in Abia State, dismissed the court’s decision as laughable.
He stated that the court’s ruling would not have any impact on the upcoming inauguration of the governor-elect. Igara explained that only the election tribunal has the authority to remove a democratically elected individual from office.