Various legal experts have faulted the judgement by a Kano Federal High Court sacking Abia State Governor Elect, Dr Alex Chioma Otti as well as all Labour Party, LP candidates in Abia and Kano States in the 2023 General Elections.
Firstly, a popular pro Democracy and Human rights lawyer, Inihebe Effiong has questioned the rationale behind the judgement, asserting that such ridiculous rulings “has the potential of exposing the judiciary to avoidable public ridicule”.
According to him, political party primaries are pre-election matters and ought to have been filed within two weeks of the said primaries, not May 11th, as is the case in this suit.
Also, he raised the issue of jurisdiction, querying the jurisdiction of a Kano State Federal High Court on a primary held in Abia State, averring that such was a wrong use of a Federal High Court.
On a statement sighted by hoo!haa!! Newspapers regarding the judgement sacking all LP candidates in Kano and Abia States, Effiong had very hard knocks for the judge in question.
The lawyer activist wrote:
“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 event.
A case relating to election is either a pre-election matter or a post election matter (election petition).
If the case filed by Ibrahim Haruna Ibrahim at the Federal High Court in Kano was/is a pre-election matter, it should have been filed within 14 days of the primaries.
How can a court assume jurisdiction in a matter that is indisputably statute barred?
This is shocking.
Also, no candidate was joined as a party in this suit. I have noted that Abia is specifically mentioned in the judgment. A court in Kano cannot nullify primaries outside Kano.
The jurisdiction of the Federal High Court cannot be invoked this way.
Nullifying primaries of candidates, and even declaring votes scored as wasted votes in this circumstance, goes against all established principles of law and fair hearing.
The court lacked jurisdiction.
This type of judgment has the potential of exposing the judiciary to avoidable public ridicule.
Inibehe Effiong Esq”
In his own submission, Sylvester Udemezue, Esq, a lecturer at the Nigerian Law School, Bayelsa State campus said:
From the stable of Sylvester Udemezue Esq.
Section 285(9) Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999:
“Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this Constitution, evey pre-election matter shall be filed not later than 14 days from the date of the occurrence of the event, decision or action complained of in the suit”
Section 285(10) Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999:
“a Court in every pre-election matter shall deliver it’s judgement in writing within 180 days from the date of the filing of the suit”
1️⃣. If Alex Otti became the Governorship Candidate of Labour Party on 09 June 2022, then any pre-election litigation questioning his candidacy must have been commenced not later than 14 days from 09 June 2022— meaning the case must be filed not later than 23 June 2022
Any case filed not later than 23 June 2022 must be determined not later than 180 days from the date of filing.
Assuming it was filed on 23 June of 2022, the 180-day timeline terminated on 20 December 2022″