Dr. Alex Otti, governor-elect of Abia State, has encouraged people of the state not to panic over his purported sack by a Federal High Court in Kano.
Otti noted that there is no cause for alarm over the kangaroo judgement.
Otti who spoke with Vanguard in Abia, said arrangements for his swearing- in on May 29 were on full gear as planned, declaring that the antics of the enemies of democracy cannot truncate the will of Abians.
Recall that on Thursday, a Federal High Court in Kano, presided over by Justice M N Yunusa, reportedly nullified the candidature of Otti, the Abia State Governor-elect, and all the candidates of the Labour Party in Abia and Kano States.
The court ruled that their emergence was not in compliance with the provisions of the 2022 Electoral Act.
The Court in Suit No FHC/KN/CS/107/2023 filed by Mr Ibrahim Haruna Ibrahim against the Labour Party and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, 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 invalid.
“The party that has not complied with the provisions of the electoral act cannot be said to have a candidate 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 purportedly ruled.
Meanwhile, reacting to the development, Festus Ogun, a human rights lawyer, noted that no court can nullify the candidacy of a person duly elected into office on the ground that he was not validly nominated.
He said, “No court can nullify the candidacy of a person duly elected on the ground that he was not validly nominated, after election. Once an election has been conducted, the issue of nomination pending in any court becomes academic and any order arising therefrom will be in vain.
“Should you fail to successfully challenge the nomination of a candidate before the conducted of election, it becomes “otilo”, otiose and academic after the conduct of the election. In fact, save for qualification issues, you cannot raise it at the Tribunal.
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.
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