Appeal Court suspends judgement Sacking Otti, Abia/Kano LP Candidates

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The Court of Appeal sitting in Kano State has ordered a stay of execution in the judgment of the Federal High Court sitting in Kano, presided over by Justice M N Yunusa, which declared all the votes cast for LP candidates in Kano, Abia and other states as wasted votes.

This follows an application filed by the Abia State Governor-Elect, Dr Alex Otti.

His legal team appealed that he be joined as an interested party while having the lower court’s judgment suspended pending determination of the case before it.

The request was granted by the Appeal Court presided by Justice Ita George Mbaba JCA.

Following the lower court’s judgment, an appeal was entered by LP counsel, Umeh Kalu SAN on May 22, urging the court above to set aside the judgment of the trial court.

Kalu had argued that “trial court erred in law and occasioned a miscarriage of justice when it entertained the suit which was bereft of any course of action.”

Recall that one Mr Ibrahim Haruna Ibrahim had sued the Labour Party and the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC), asking for the nullification of the votes of LP candidates at the 2023 poll.

The applicant also urged the high court to set aside the Certificate of Return issued to all LP candidates and order INEC to return the first runner up in all places won by LP candidates.

Justice M N Yunusa had declared all LP votes as “wasted votes”, citing the party’s failure to submit its membership register to the INEC within 30 days before the commencement of their primaries.

But on issuance of Certificate of Return, the trial Judge declined, saying “the parties that participated in Abia state are not parties before this court.”

The appellate court will now look into the merit of the case, issues having been joined.