…By Joseph Benjamin for TDPel Media.
On Monday, Dr. Alex Otti, the winner of the March 18 governorship election in Abia State, officially took office as the new governor.
The swearing-in ceremony, held at the Umuahia Township Stadium, saw Otti and his deputy, Ikechi Valentine Emetu, taking their oaths of office.
The Abia Chief Judge, Hon. Justice Lilian Abai, administered the oath to them.
Legal Challenges and Court Ruling
It is worth noting that prior to his inauguration, Otti faced legal challenges regarding his candidacy.
In a judgment delivered by Justice M N Yunusa at the Federal High Court in Kano, it was declared that all votes cast for Labour Party candidates, including Otti, in Kano, Abia, and other states, were considered wasted votes.
The court ruled that the selection process leading to Otti’s nomination and that of other party candidates did not comply with the requirements outlined in the 2022 electoral act.
The Court’s Decision and Appeal
The lawsuit, brought by Mr. Ibrahim Haruna Ibrahim against the Labour Party and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), argued that the Labour Party’s failure to submit its membership register to INEC at least 30 days before their primaries rendered the selection process invalid.
However, Otti’s legal team sought to join the case as an interested party and requested the suspension of the lower court’s judgment until a final decision was reached.
Appeal Court’s Granting of the Request
Fortunately for Otti, the Appeal Court granted his team’s request.
This allowed him to participate in the ongoing legal proceedings as an interested party, while also putting the lower court’s judgment on hold until the case’s final determination.
In summary, Dr. Alex Otti was sworn in as the new governor of Abia State on Monday, alongside his deputy, Ikechi Valentine Emetu.
Despite facing legal challenges regarding the selection process, Otti’s request to be joined as an interested party and to suspend the lower court’s judgment was granted by the Appeal Court.
This enables him to continue his legal defense while assuming his responsibilities as governor.