LP rejects Alex Otti, other Abia, Kano candidates’ elections nullification

by Amos Kalu

The leadership of the Labour Party has rejected the nullification of the candidature of Abia State Governor-elect, Dr. Alex Otti, and some other party representatives.

The reaction is coming hours after a Federal High Court sitting in Kano State dismissed the governor-elect and other candidates.

Aside from Otti, the court presided over by Justice M N Yunusa also nullified the candidature of all Labour Party flag bearers in Abia and Kano States.

Yunusa, who ruled that their emergence was not in compliance with the 2022 Electoral Act provisions, gave the injunction in Suit No FHC/KN/CS/107/2023 filed by Mr. Ibrahim Haruna Ibrahim against the Labour Party and the Independent National Electoral Commission.

The judge stated that the failure of the party to submit its membership register to the INEC within 30 days before their primaries render the process invalid.

Reacting to his sack, Otti, however, called on Abia residents to remain calm, saying the Kano court’s judgment holds no water and stands on nothing.

An unperturbed Otti, who spoke through his media aide, Ferdinand Ekeoma, stated that preparations for his inauguration on May 29 are proceeding as planned.

A statement also released by LP Acting National Publicity Secretary, Obiora Ifoh, also frowned at the nullification.

Ifoh, who blamed the ruling on the handiwork of suspended members of the party loyal to the acting deputy National Chairman, Lamidi Apapa, lasted only 48 hours

This was even as he lamented that despite mentioning the Labour party as a respondent, the spokesman claimed that they were not aware of any suit against in Kano state because the party was not served with any summons.

He said, “The party is even more concerned with the haste with which Justice M. N. Yunusa of Kano High Court discharged its duties as the appearance and judgment in the matter brought before it by suspended members of the party loyal to the former deputy National Chairman, Lamidi Apapa lasted only 48 hours.

“The former National Legal Adviser Samuel Akingbade Oyelekan has since ceased from being an officer of the party and his appearance for the party is not with any authorization from the leadership of the party’s National Working Committee.

“The judgment is not only inconsequential but also laughable and holds no water. The court lacks the jurisdiction to entertain election matters at a time when elections have since been concluded and winners emerged. The Kano Court is also not a tribunal which has the constitutional powers to entertain pre-election matters.”

Continuing, Ifoh claimed that while everyone was fixated at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, the suspended National Legal Adviser Samuel Akingbade Oyelekan, allegedly sneaked out of Abuja to Kano where he, in collaboration with some undisclosed members of other political parties asked the court to invalidate all the elections won by the Labour Party on the ground that the party didn’t submit register of voters to INEC.

Our correspondent could not, however, validate the claim through an independent finding.

He said, “The leadership of the Labour Party is horrified with the judgment entered against our party by a state high court in Kano state wherein it annulled the elections of our party members into various political offices across the 36 states of the federation.

“The two respondents in the matter are Labour Party and INEC. No individual is mentioned in the matter and no court can grant any relief that is not sought. So we lose no sleep on the black market judgment as we will soon direct our lawyers to approach the Appeal Court to vacate the ill-conceived judgment.

“Labour Party has repeatedly raised the alarm of the plots by the opposition parties to ensure that Labour Party is engulfed in crisis. A few weeks ago, we alerted Nigerians of plots to hijack the party and by extension, target all our cases in the tribunal. We have since produced pieces of evidence of the letters initiated by Akingbade to various tribunals asking for the withdrawal of cases before them,” he said.

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