FactCheck: Kano Court Did not Nullify Abia Governor-elect Candidature


Mustapha Lawal 

The 2023 general elections may have come and gone but it is not without controversies surrounding its conduct. Different parties have approached different courts to seek redress and challenge processes and results they feel do not conform to relevant laws guiding elections in the country. There are numerous cases awaiting judgment in the court of law as regards the elections based on different grounds. 

One such case is the one filed by Mr Ibrahim Haruna Ibrahim against the Labour Party and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) at the Federal High Court in Kano with suit number FHC/KN/CS/107/2023, to seek the nullification and forfeiture of the candidature of all Labour party candidates in Kano and Abia states and to also seek the court to revoke and set aside the certificate of return issued to all LP candidates declared winners in Kano and the 35 states of the Federation including the FCT Abuja.

Several traditional and digital news platforms including Daily Trust, PM News, Punch (in a now-deleted post), TVC News, Guardian, ICIRLeadership, Business Day, The Street Journal, and The Sun amongst others earlier reported on Friday, 19th May 2022 that the Federal High Court in Kano nullified the candidature of the Governor-elect of Abia State, Dr Alex Otti based on the ruling of this case.

It was reported that the Federal High Court sitting in Kano State, presided over by Justice Muhammad Nasir Yunusa nullified the candidature of the Abia State Governor-elect, Dr Alex Otti, and all the candidates of the Labour Party in Abia and Kano States over their emergence for the 2023 elections, which was said not to comply with the provisions of the 2022 Electoral Act. 

Premium Times reported that the judge cited the failure of the Labour Party to submit its membership registers to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) preparatory to the party’s primary election as the basis for his verdict.

“That the failure of the 1st defendant to submit its register of members in Kano State and Abia State is in crass breach of the provisions of section 77(3) of the Electoral Act, 2022, and the purported Primary Elections of the 1st defendant is invalid, null and void and of no effect,” Mr Yunusa ruled, according to the summary of the court judgment claimed to be seen by PREMIUM TIMES on Friday.

PM News reported that the Judge ruled that “the party that has not complied with the provisions of the electoral act cannot be said to have a candidate in an election and cannot be declared winner of an election; this being so, the votes credited to the 1st defendant (Labour Party)** is a wasted vote.”

However, Vanguard News reported that the Abia Governor-elect, Dr Alex Otti, has accused the Abia State Government, and the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, of masterminding,  and sponsoring the misinformation over his purported sack by a Federal High Court sitting in Kano.


Is the report that the Federal High Court sitting in Kano sacked Abia State Governor-elect true? 


The many reports headlined “Court sacks Abia state governor-elect, Otti” is found to be misleading!


FactCheckElections contacted a lawyer (Barrister Desmond Orisewezie) on the true interpretation of the judgment. When asked on the true position of the court and if truly the Abia state governor-elect has been sacked by the court, the lawyer said “No, it only concerns Kano but has legal implications for Otti and Obi” 

A report credited to NAN states the Federal High Court sitting in Kano has denied nullifying the candidature of the Abia Governor-elect, Dr Alex Otti. “Candidates who participated in the 2023 general election in Abia were not parties before his court. This court lacks jurisdiction to make an order for the issuance of a certificate of return” Justice Muhammad Nasir-Yunusa was reported to have said.

Another report by Vreporters, says the Kano Judge faults the media report of nullification of Abia state governor-elect candidature. “Media reports that it nullified the candidature of the Abia state Governor-elect, Dr Alex Otti, who contested the election on the platform of the Labour Party, LP, are misleading,” said the court judge. However, he added that the court annulled the election of all the Kano LP candidates that contested the 2023 general election. Nasir-Yunusa said, “The court declared only the primary election of the Labour Party in Kano State null and void.”


FactCheckElections can confirm that reports headlined “Court sacks Abia state governor-elect, Otti” is misleading! And that reports like this are detrimental to the ideal of a democracy that is still struggling to find its balance.  We charge every news platform to ensure they carry out their due diligence and report stories objectively. The trend of click-baiting and traffic generation will do the country no good but rather stir the water of crises and tension. 

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