Two human rights lawyers, Festus Ogun and Inibehe Effiong have condemned Friday’s ruling by Federal High Court in Kano nullifying the candidature of Abia State Governor-elect Alex Otti and all the candidates of the Labour Party in Abia and Kano States, saying the suit was an abuse of court process.
The Court ruled that LP failed to submit its membership register to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) within 30 days before their primaries.
But reacting on Twitter shortly after reports of the ruling went viral on social media Friday, the lawyers said the ruling cannot stand since the suit was instituted over a month after the election was conducted and winners, including Otii emerged.
Ogun said the ruling is an abuse of court process since those whose interests are adversely affected were not joined as party to the suit.
The lawyer further described the suit as academic, stressing that the judgement cannot serve any purpose since the election had already been conducted.
“Those whose interests are adversely affected were not joined as party to the suit. Who is Ibrahim Haruna Ibrahim? Under the Electoral Act, 2022, only an aspirant who actually participated in the primaries can challenge the candidate of any party,” Ogun said.
“The issue of party membership is an internal affair of a political party which the court cannot entertain.
“The judgement cannot survive appellate scrutiny. It will be quashed on appeal”.
Effiong stated that the ruling cannot stand since the case was filed outside the 14 days period granted by the constitution for pre-election matters.
“Based on this judgment order, this case was filed on the 11th day of May, 2023. Alex Otti emerged as the gubernatorial candidate of LP during primaries held in June 2022.
“Section 285 of the constitution states that all pre-election matters must be filed within 14 days of the event, “ Effiong said.