Justice M N Yunusa of the Federal High Court in Kano has nullified the candidature of the Abia State Governor-elect, Alex Otti and all the candidates of the Labour Party in Abia and Kano States.
The court ruled that the failure of the Labour Party to submit its membership register to the INEC within 30 days before their primaries renders the process null and void.
A copy of the judgement delivered by the court was made public on Friday morning.
The Court in Suit No FHC/KN/CS/107/2023 was filed by Ibrahim Haruna Ibrahim against the LP and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
“The party that has not complied with the provisions of the electoral act cannot be said to have candidates in an election and cannot be declared winner of an election.
“This being so, the votes credited to the 1st defendant is a wasted vote,” the Judge ruled.
Recall that the Abia Governor-elect, Otti, on April 14 constituted a 75-member inauguration committee to organise his inauguration on May 29.
The LP candidate was declared the winner of the March 18 Abia gubernatorial election of by the INEC after winning 10 of the 17 local government areas (LGAs) in the state and polled 175,467 votes.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Okey Ahiwe, polled a total of 88,529 votes while Enyinnaya Nwafor of the Young Peoples Party (YPP) came in third with 28,972 votes.
INEC’s state returning officer, Nnenna Oti, declared Otti as the governor-elect, having polled the highest number of votes and having fulfilled the requirements to be named the governor-elect.
On Wednesday, the Labour Party had accused a “breakaway group” of the party led by acting National Chairman Lamidi Apapa of approaching a court in Kano State to seek the nullification of the party’s recent electoral victories.
The LP’s acting National Publicity Secretary, Obiora Ifoh, who raised the alarm in a statement, said “The Labour Party has been informed of an illegal attempt by a breakaway group in the party led by Lamidi Apapa to misguide a Kano state High court to invalidate all the elections won by the Labour Party in the just concluded general election.”
The party spokesman alleged that “the suspended National Legal Adviser and a key member of the disgraced Apapa group, Samuel Akingbade Oyelekan, on Wednesday while the Presidential Appeal Tribunal was sitting in Abuja with all attentions focused on it, clandestinely sneaked out of Abuja to Kano state where he in collaboration with some members of the other political parties asked the court to invalidate all the elections won by the Labour Party, particularly, the national assembly in the 36 states and FCT on the ground that we didn’t submit register of voters to INEC.”
He added that Akingbade, who presented himself as representing the Labour Party, did not oppose the motion, thus forcing the helpless judge to reserve judgement for Thursday, (yesterday).
Ifoh went on to ask the judiciary and all law enforcement agencies, including the police and the Department of State Services, DSS, to note that Akingbade and loyalists of Apapa’s had ceased to represent the party.