The Court of Appeal in Kano has issued a stay of execution on Justice M.N. Yunusa’s recent judgement of the Federal High Court in Kano, which sacked Abia State Governor-Elect Alex Otti and other Labour Party candidates.
According to reports, the judgement declared all votes cast for Labour Party (LP) candidates in Kano, Abia, and other states to be invalid.
Dr. Alex Otti, the governor-elect of Abia State, filed an application for the stay of execution. Otti’s legal team requested that he be added to the case as an interested party and that the lower court’s judgement be suspended until a decision is reached.
Otti’s request was granted by the Appeal Court, putting the lower court’s decision on hold.
It should be noted that, following the lower court’s decision, Umeh Kalu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) representing the Labour Party, filed a subsequent appeal. Kalu urged the Supreme Court to overturn the trial court’s decision.
Kalu claimed that the trial court committed a legal error and a miscarriage of justice by hearing a lawsuit that had no legal basis.
Ibrahim Haruna Ibrahim filed the initial lawsuit, requesting that the votes of the LP candidates in the 2023 election be declared null and void. Ibrahim also asked the high court to overturn the LP candidates’ Certificates of Return and directed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to award the first runner-up in all constituencies won by LP candidates.
Justice M.N. Yunusa ruled in his ruling that all LP votes were “wasted votes” because the party failed to submit its membership register to INEC within the 30-day period before their primaries.
The trial judge, on the other hand, refused to address the issuance of the Certificate of Return, stating that “the parties that participated in Abia state are not parties before this court.”