A Federal High Court sitting in Kano, presided over by Justice M. N. Yunusa has on Friday, May 19, delivered a judgement that may cancel the victory of Alex Otti, the Abia State Governor-elect, and all the candidates of the Labour Party particularly in Abia and Kano States. The high court ruled that their emergence was not in compliance with the provisions of the 2022 Electoral Act.
In a suit filed by Ibrahim Haruna Ibrahim against the Labour Party and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the judge 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 ruled.
Recently, 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.
Obiora Ifoh, Labour Party’s acting National Publicity Secretary, 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.”
Ifoh alleged that “the suspended National Legal Adviser and a key member of the Apapa group, Samuel Akingbade Oyelekan, on Wednesday while the Presidential Appeal Tribunal was sitting in Abuja with all attention 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 May 18. 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.