…Alex Otti Describes it as “Kangaroo Judgement” …Labour Party Continues with Inauguration Preparations A Federal High Court Kano judgement on Friday cast a pall over preparations for the swearing-in as Governor of Abia state as it declared votes gathered by Labour Party in Kano and Abia states as invalid, null and void describing them as
…Alex Otti Describes it as “Kangaroo Judgement”
…Labour Party Continues with Inauguration Preparations
A Federal High Court Kano judgement on Friday cast a pall over preparations for the swearing-in as Governor of Abia state as it declared votes gathered by Labour Party in Kano and Abia states as invalid, null and void describing them as wasted votes.
Justice M N Yunusa in his six – page judgement dated 18 May 2023 also nullified the candidature of all those who contested the 2023 general elections under the Labour Party (LP) in Abia and Kano States. The court ruled that the emergence of the candidates was not in compliance with the provisions of the 2022 Electoral Act.
Specifically, Justice Yunusa said the Labour Party contravened Section 77 (2) and (3) of the Electoral Act 2022.
Section 77 (2) of the Act supra, requires every political party to maintain a register of its members in both hard and soft copy, while Section 77 (3) thereof requires that such register must be made available to INEC not later than 30 days before the date fixed for the party primaries, congresses or convention.
Section 77 (3) of the Act supra provides:
” Each political party shall make such register available to the Commission not later than 30 days before the date fixed for the party primaries, congresses or convention.”
The Labour Party and its candidates met their political Waterloo in Suit No FHC/KN/CS/107/2023 filed by Mr Ibrahim Haruna Ibrahim against the LP and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The court ruled that the failure of the Labour Party to submit its membership register to INEC within 30 days before their primaries in Kano and throughout the federation renders the process null and void.
“That all votes cast for all the candidates of the 1st Defendant (Labour Party) in Kano and Abia state in the general elections of 2023 are wasted votes”, the judge stressed.
He, however, said: ” the candidates that participated in the election in Abia state are not parties before this court, as such the court lacks the jurisdiction to make an order for the issuance of certificate of return to them. They are, however, at liberty to seek the said redress in the appropriate Division of the court.”
But the judgement is not making the Labour Party and those elected on its ticket uncomfortable in Abia state.
Abia state Governor-elect, Dr Alex Otti, on Friday reacted to the judgement of a Federal High Court in Kano urging Abians not to express fear as there was no cause for alarm over ” the kangaroo judgement”.
Dr. Otti said arrangements for his swearing- in on May 29 were in full gear as planned, declaring that the antics of the enemies of democracy cannot truncate the will of Abians.
The Labour Party Chairman in Abia State, Mr. Ceekay Igara, also countered the court judgement sacking the Abia State Governor-elect, Dr Alex Otti and other elected party candidates, noting that the said judgment is dead on arrival and cannot stand.
Mr. Igara stated this in a statement made available to the journalists in Umuahia on Friday afternoon, shortly after the court judgement.
The chairman charged all Labour Party candidates and the party faithful to remain calm and not panic, adding that the party lawyers were already on top of the matter.
The judgement has attracted reactions from Nigerians majority of whom believe the case was a pre- election matter.
Mr Festus Ogun in his Twitter handle posited hat the suit was instituted over a month after the election had been conducted and winners including Alex Otti had emerged adding that those whose interest are adversely affected were not joined as parties in the suit.
Some Nigerians also described it as an academic exercise stressing that necessary parties were not before the court, the plaintiff in the case did not show any cause of action and that the issues raised ought to have been addressed before the election as it was a party primary issue.
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