The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has responded to Dr. Alex Otti’s removal as the candidate for governor of Abia State.
The PDP has disputed Otti’s assertions that the recent Kano Federal High Court decision, which resulted in his removal, was the result of a planned plot by the PDP and the Abia State Government.
Reports purportedly sponsored by the PDP and the Abia State Government were discredited by Otti’s spokesperson, Ferdinand Ekeoma, who called them unfounded and misleading.
However, the PDP in Abia stated that it was aware of the decision made by the Federal High Court in Kano in an official press release from Hon. Elder Abraham Amah, the party’s vice chairman and acting state publicity secretary.
Recall that the Labour Party failed to submit its register of members to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) within the allotted 30-day period prior to the primaries, as required by the 2022 Electoral Act, and the court ruled that Otti and other Labour Party candidates in Abia State were ineligible for their positions.
Amah clarified that the application to invalidate the certificates of return issued to all Labour Party candidates declared winners in the states of Kano and Abia was submitted by Mr. Ibrahim Haruna-Ibrahim.
The PDP emphasized that the court granted Mr. Ibrahim’s request based on the terms of the amended Electoral Act.
The statement also emphasized that the Abia PDP had not filed a lawsuit in Kano’s Federal High Court against the Labour Party or the state’s incoming governor of Abia.
The Abia PDP, according to the vice chairman, has instructed its legal team to carefully review the judgment because it is a responsible political party.
Additionally, the Abia PDP has already filed a petition with the Abia State Election Petition Tribunal against the newly elected governor and the Labour Party. The party is also looking into other legal options to reclaim what it sees as its legitimate mandate.
The PDP urged the residents of Abia State to maintain their composure and peace during this time, assuring them that once the Election Petition Tribunal issues its ruling, justice will ultimately triumph.
In the case (Suit No FHC/KN/CS/107/2023) brought by Mr. Ibrahim Haruna Ibrahim against the Labour Party and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the court determined that the Labour Party’s primary election process was invalid because it failed to submit its membership register to INEC within the required timeframe.
The votes cast for the first defendant (Labour Party) were therefore deemed to be wasted votes because the judge decided that a party that did not follow the electoral act provisions cannot have a valid candidate or be proclaimed the winner of an election.