Appeal Court Upholds Labour Party’s Victory in Lagos, Dismisses PDP Petition Against Alex Otti

In a recent ruling, the Appeal Court in Lagos this morning dismissed the petition from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, upholding Alex Otti’s victory from the Labour Party. The court highlighted that the judgment of the Federal High Court in Kano was irrelevant to the case, leading to the striking out of related arguments.

The court also dismissed the filing of a separate written address by the 3rd Respondent, stating it was not central to the appellants’ grievances. Issue one failed, and Issue 2, along with its arguments, was struck out.

Furthermore, the court found Issue 3 and its arguments incompetent and struck them out. The issue of membership was deemed a post-election matter under Section 177(c) of the 1999 Constitution, while compliance with the mode of emergence of a candidate was considered a pre-election matter.

The court established that Alex Otti joined the Labour Party, won its primary election, and submitted his name to INEC, making him qualified to contest. Section 77(3) of the Electoral Act was noted for regulatory purposes without sanctions for non-compliance.

The court clarified that party membership is non-justiciable and falls within the political party’s jurisdiction. Section 77(2) & (3) of the Electoral Act cannot expand constitutional qualifying and disqualifying criteria.

The Tribunal’s decision to strike out paragraphs related to pre-election complaints was deemed correct. On the merit of the offensive paragraphs, it was found that Alex Otti participated in the Labour Party primaries and was qualified to contest.

The Appellants lacked standing to question the LP candidate’s emergence, having not contested in the primaries or being party members. Issue 4 failed.

Issues 5 & 6, focusing on non-compliance, were considered together. Evidence from certain witnesses was expunged for incompetence. The Appellants failed to link their documentary evidence to specific parts of their case. The court noted that the BVAS Report was not properly demonstrated.

The Appeal Court concluded that the appeal failed and was dismissed, with costs of 200,000 assessed against the Appellants in favor of the Respondent.