The Peoples Democratic Party on Friday night challenged the Abia State Governor-elect, Dr Alex Otti, over his statement that the Kano Federal High Court judgement that sacked him was a booby trap set for him by the PDP and Abia State Government.
In a press release by the Abia PDP Vice Chairman/Acting State Publicity Secretary, Hon. Elder Abraham Amah, PDP said its attention has been drawn to the judgement by the Federal High Court in Kano “which sacked the Abia State governor-elect and other candidates elected under the platform of the Labour Party in Abia State on the ground that their party did not submit its register of members to the Independent National Electoral Commission, 30 days before the conduct of its primaries, one of the requirements for candidates to be eligible to contest elections in Nigeria”.
According to Amah, in that release, one Mr Ibrahim Haruna-Ibrahim had filed an application seeking the court to revoke and set aside the certificate of return issued to all LP candidates declared winner in Kano and Abia States and the judge relying on the provisions of the 2022 Electoral Act (As Amended) granted the prayer made by Mr Harun Ibrahim.
The statement read in parts, “The Abia PDP wishes to clarify to the good people of Abia State and Nigerians that it did not institute any case against the Abia governor-elect and the Labour Party in a Federal High Court in Kano.
“However, as a responsible political party, the Abia PDP is aware of the judgement and has mandated its legal team to study the judgement.
“The Abia PDP has already filed a petition against the Abia governor-elect and the Labour Party at the Abia State Election Petition Tribunal and is exploring legal options that would enable it to recover its mandate”.
The party urged Abians to remain calm and peaceful “as we await the judgement of the Election Petition Tribunal and we are very sure that justice would be served at the end”.
A Federal High Court in Kano, presided over by Justice M. N. Yunusa, had reportedly nullified the candidature of Otti, the Abia State Governor-elect, and all the candidates of the Labour Party in Abia and Kano states.
Otti had through his Special Adviser (Media and Publicity), Ferdinand Ekeoma, alleged that the report is “being sponsored and widely circulated by the PDP and Abia State Government alleging that a Kano High Court has sacked the Abia Governor-Elect, Dr Alex Otti”, describing it as “baseless, unfounded and misleading, and thus should be ignored”.
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 “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.