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ABIA: Appeal Court suspends judgement sacking Alex Otti

THE Court of Appeal, Kano Division has granted an order for a stay and suspension of the judgement of a Federal High Court in Kano State sacking the Abia State Governor-elect, Dr. Alex Otti.

The court also granted the governor-elect leave to appeal as an interested party against the judgement of Justice Mohammed Yunusa delivered on May 18.

The three-man panel of the court led by Justice Ita Mbaba granted Otti seven days from Saturday within which to file the notice of appeal as an interested party. The other two justices are Justice Uche Onyemenam and Justice Usman Musale.

They granted the application after listening to Abiodun Owonikoko, SAN, who represented the appellant (Otti) alongside Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Ken Ahia and Bashir Muhammad.

The respondents, Ibrahim Haruna Ibrahi, Labour Party, and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), were not represented in court, despite being served.

The order for a stay and suspension of the judgement was granted, pending the hearing and determination of the appeal for which leave had been granted.

The appellant was also ordered “to give an undertaking for damages in the sum of two million naira in favour of each of the respondents in the event of failure by the appellant to file or diligently prosecute the appeal in terms of the proposed notice of appeal containing ten grounds in Exhibit AO4”.

It will be recalled that on May 18, Justice Yunusa had held “that the Labour Party had carried on with its activities in the selection for the general election in a manner that is at variance with mandatory provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 which renders its participation in the General Elections of 2023 in Kano & Abia states as null and void.

“That the failure of the party to submit its register of members in Kano & Abia states is in crass breach of the provisions of Section 77(3) of the Electoral Act 2022 and the purported elections of the Labour Party is invalid, null and void and of no effect.

The court had also held “that the void primary elections of Labour Party cannot produce eligible candidates to be sponsored by the party in the general election and the participation of the candidates in Kano and Abia states is of no money and a waste of time.

“That the votes cast for all the candidates of the Labour Party in Kano and Abia states in the General Elections of 2023 are wasted votes”.

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