A Federal High Court sitting in Kano, Nigeria, presided over by Justice M N Yunusa has nullified the candidature of the Abia State Governor-elect, Dr Alex Otti and all other candidates of the Labour Party in Abia and Kano States, NjenjeMediaNews reports.
The judgement was delivered 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. 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 invalid.
Mr Ibrahim had argued that as a result of the failure by the Labour Party to submit its membership register to the INEC, the party was not eligible to contest the 2023 elections and that the emergence of Dr Alex Otti as the Governor-elect of Abia State and all the Labour Party candidates in Abia and Kano States was in violation of the 2023 Electoral Act.
The court agreed with Mr Ibrahim’s argument and declared that the Labour Party had no valid candidates in the elections. The judgement read, “The party that has not complied with the provisions of the electoral act cannot be said to have 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.”
This judgement has far reaching implications for the 2023 elections as it sets a precedent that all political parties must abide by the provisions of the electoral act or risk having their candidature nullified. It also serves as a reminder that the INEC must be vigilant in ensuring that all political parties adhere to the regulations of the electoral act.
The judgement serves as a warning to all political parties that they must ensure that all their candidates are eligible and meet all requirements stipulated in the electoral act.