Supreme Court Upholds Governor Alex Otti’s Victory, Rejects PDP’s Challenge

The Supreme Court has thwarted an attempt by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the Abia governorship election, Okey Ambrose Ahiwe, to challenge the verdict of the Abia people and remove Governor Alex Otti from office.

Ahiwe, who lost the March 18, 2023, governorship election to Labour Party’s Dr. Alex Otti, OFR, filed a suit on October 30, 2023, seeking to join the controversial Federal High Court, Kano, judgment that had been discarded by the Appeal Court, Kano.

The Supreme Court deemed Ahiwe’s application as baseless and concurred with Dr. Otti’s legal team, asserting that Ahiwe had waited too long to assert his rights, if any. As a result, the apex court dismissed the appeal and imposed a cost of N500,000 on Ahiwe, a decision that was seen as embarrassing for Ahiwe and the PDP.

The PDP, through a proxy, had initiated a case at the Kano lower court, obtaining a judgment based on false allegations that the Labour Party had not submitted its member register to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), thereby nullifying LP members’ candidacy in the general election.

The Appeal Court rejected the Federal High Court’s judgment, branding it as reckless, fraudulent, and a legal misadventure.

Notably, Dr. Alex Otti was not initially part of the case at the Federal High Court, Kano, but he joined during the appeal stage, ultimately succeeding. A portion of the Court of Appeal’s judgment read:

“The above motion was supported by a 9-paragraph affidavit, countered by the 2nd Respondent as stated above. This reveals the level of intrigue and apparent foul play, including the involvement of some lawyers, unfortunately, to discredit the court and achieve a fraudulent objective. The roles of the 1st Respondent and counsel representing the purported Labour Party at the lower court are questionable. The Nigerian Bar Association and the Police are urged to investigate claims of conspiracy, collusion, or connivance by the 1st Respondent and named counsel, with a view to preserving the legal profession’s integrity, restoring decorum to the judicial system in Nigeria, and upholding the court process.”

Despite this significant judgment from the Court of Appeal, Okey Ambrose Ahiwe, representing the PDP in Abia State, persisted with an appeal to the Supreme Court, attempting to challenge the ruling and argue that Dr. Alex Otti was not a member of the Labour Party.