...By Henry George for TDPel Media.
The Labour Party (LP) has lodged an appeal against the ruling of the Federal High Court in Kano, overseen by Justice M.N. Yunusa.
The court had deemed all votes cast for the Labour Party’s candidates in Kano, Abia, and the rest of Nigeria as wasted votes.
The judgment was based on the court’s finding that the selection process for the party’s candidates, including Abia State Governor-elect Alex Otti, did not comply with the requirements outlined in the 2022 electoral act.
Invalidation of the Selection Process:
In the case with the reference number FHC/KN/CS/107/2023, brought by Mr. Ibrahim Haruna Ibrahim against the Labour Party and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the court ruled 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.
As a result, the court was urged by the applicant to nullify the Certificate of Return issued to all LP candidates and instruct INEC to declare the first runner-up as the winner in all constituencies where LP emerged victorious.
The Judge’s Ruling:
The Judge, while declaring that votes attributed to the Labour Party were wasted votes, did not order the issuance of the Certificate of Return to any candidate in Abia state.
The Judge explained that the parties involved in the Abia state election were not parties before the court, hence refraining from making a specific ruling on the matter.
On May 22, LP’s counsel, Umeh Kalu SAN, filed an appeal challenging the judgment of the trial court. The appellant urged the court to set aside the previous ruling, presenting several grounds for the appeal.
Kalu argued that the trial court had erred in law and caused a miscarriage of justice by entertaining a lawsuit that lacked a proper cause of action.
Jurisdiction and Time Limitations:
Kalu further contended that Section 285 of the 1999 Constitution vested exclusive jurisdiction in Election Tribunals to handle complaints related to candidate participation and votes garnered during general elections.
He also emphasized that the 1999 Constitution set a time limit of 14 days to challenge the outcome of a political party primary after its declaration.
The Labour Party has taken the legal route by appealing the judgment that declared their votes as wasted in Kano, Abia, and across Nigeria.
Their counsel argued that the trial court had made errors in law and violated jurisdictional and time limitations specified in the 1999 Constitution.
The outcome of the appeal will determine whether the previous ruling will be upheld or overturned.