The Court of Appeal in Abuja, on Friday, penalised Alex Otti for asking it to join him in the legal battle for the governorship seat of Abia state.
The All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), governorship candidate in the last election, following the disqualification of Okezie Ikpeazu from office by a Federal High Court judgment, approached the appellate court
seeking to be declared as governor of the state.
But in a unanimous decision, a five-man panel of justices of the appellate held that Otti and his party lacked the locus standi to be joined as interested parties in appeal that arose from verdict of the lower court.
The court said that gamut of the dispute which Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court Abuja passed judgement on only revolve around the governorship primary election of the PDP, held on December 8, 2014.
According to them, since the issue is on the qualification of candidates to be nominated or sponsored by the PDP, neither Otti, nor APGA had the legal right to meddle in an inter-party affair of another political party.
The appellate court noted that under section 87(9) of the Electoral Act, 2010, only those that participated in the PDP primary could question the outcome.
“The applicant who is a member of another political party has no locus to query process of nomination of another party. He is merely a busy body who has no locus to appeal against the whole decision of the lower court regarding the governorship primary election conducted by the 2nd Respondent on December 8, 2014.
“The applicants (Otti and APGA) had the onus to show the interest they have and how the judgement of the lower court adversely affected them. The applicants do not have sufficient legal grievance. They only have general interest which is equal to that of any other candidate that participated at the election.
“They are neither necessary nor desirable parties in this appeal. It is left for the 1st and 3rd Respondents ((Ogah
and Ikpeazu) to slug it out.
“Moreover, the applicants could not have been joined as an interested party by the lower court. The applicants have failed to establish any cognizable legal interest to warrant this court to join them as interested party in an inter-party dispute. A complete stranger cannot be allowed to meddle the waters of this dispute.
“On the whole, this application lacks merit and it is accordingly dismissed with N50, 000 cost to each of the respondents except the 4th Respondent (INEC)”, the court held.
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