The Supreme Court has upheld the election victory of Alex Otti as the Governor of Abia State.


The Supreme Court has upheld the election of Alex Otti as the Governor of Abia State in the March 18, 2023, governorship election. Justice Uwani Abba-Aji, in delivering the lead judgment on January 12, declared that the appeals brought before the court by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Chief Okey Ahiwe, and the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Chief Ikechi Emenike, lacked merit.

The apex court emphasized that there was no legal justification to overturn the concurrent findings of the Abia State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal and the Court of Appeal, both of which had previously upheld Otti’s election. The argument presented by the appellants, asserting that Otti was not a bona fide member of the Labour Party (LP) during the governorship election, was deemed irrelevant in light of Section 177(c) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended. The court also pointed out that Otti, having been nominated and sponsored by a political party, could not be considered an independent candidate.

Addressing concerns about Otti’s name not appearing on the membership list of his party, the Supreme Court dismissed this contention, highlighting that the law required the LP to submit the list to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) at least 30 days before its governorship primary election.

Furthermore, the court rejected the argument that the PDP lacked the standing to challenge Otti’s candidacy, deeming issues related to the nomination and sponsorship of a candidate as internal matters of a political party, beyond the jurisdiction of the courts. The Supreme Court held that the appeals contained issues predating the governorship election and were now statute-barred.

As a result, the appeals were dismissed, and Alex Otti’s victory in the March 18, 2023 poll was affirmed by the Supreme Court.

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