APPEAL NO: CA/A/335/2015
Court Of Appeal – Abuja
AREAS OF LAW:
ACTION, APPEAL, INJUNCTION, JURISDICTION, PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE
SUMMARY OF FACTS
The 1st and 2nd Respondent as Plaintiffs commenced an action at the Federal High Court by way of an Originating Summons against the Appellant, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Defendant respectively whereby they sought whether the conduct of the Governorship Primaries of the 1sl Defendant conducted on the 4th of December 2014 was not grossly in non-compliance with the provisions of section 87 of the Electoral Act 2010, the APC 2014 Guidelines for the nomination of candidates for public offices (hereinafter referred to as APC 2014 Guidelines) and therefore, unlawful, illegal, null and void, whether the procedure for the nomination and/or sponsorship of candidates for elective offices recognised by the Electoral Act 2010 and the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, is within the exclusive domain of section 87 of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended amongst others. The Plaintiff sought a declaration that it is unlawful for the 3rd Defendant to act on a candidate nominated by the 1st Defendant for the purpose of the general elections when such a candidate was elected in violation of the electoral guidelines established by the 1st Defendant, an order directing the 1st Defendant to withdraw the nomination and sponsorship of the 2nd Defendant as the Gubernatorial Flag bearer of the All Progressive Congress and to hold another governorship primaries in Sokoto State within such reasonable time as may be determined by the court amongst others. The 1st and 2nd Defendants objected to the Originating Summons and the court after hearing the parties overruled the preliminary objection. The Appellant being dissatisfied with the decision has appealed to the Court of Appeal.
ISSUES FOR DETERMINATION
CLAIMS – DUTY OF A CLAIMANT TO PROPERLY COUCH HIS CLAIMS
“Therefore, it is very important that a claimant or a plaintiff properly couches his claims. See Chief Omu Uzoukwu & 5 Ors. v. Igwe Chukwudebelu Ezike Ezeonu II & 8 Ors. (1991) 6 NWLR (Pt. 200) 700 and Fayemi v. Oni (2010) 17 NWLR (PL 1222) 326.” PER M. A. A. ADUMEIN, J.C.A.
JURISDICTION OF COURT – WHETHER THE NATURE OF RELIEF SOUGHT BY A PARTY CAN AFFECT THE JURISDICTION OF A COURT
“It is settled law that the jurisdiction of a court of law can be seriously affected by the nature of the relief sought by the plaintiff. It is also the law that it is the plaintiff’s claim that determines whether or not the court has jurisdiction. On the latter point, see the cases of Izekwe v. Nnadozie 14 WACA 361; Ekufo Farms Ltd. & Anor. v. Union Bnak of Nigeria Pic (2006) 6 SCM 78 at 92 and Alhaji Umaru Abba Tukur v. Government of Gongofa State (1989) 4 NWLR (PL 117) 517.” PER M. A. A. ADUMEIN, J.C.A.
GRANT OF INJUNCTION – WHETHER AN INJUNCTION CAN BE GRANTED IN RESPECT OF A COMPLETED ACT
“The law is that injunction, which is an equitable relief or remedy cannot be granted in respect of a completed act. See The Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Anambra State & 4 Ors. v. Robert C. Okafor & 5 Ors. (1992) 2 NWLR (Pt.224) 396. In the case of Chief Francis Uchenna Ugwu & 4 Ors. v. Peoples Democratic Party & 6 Ors. (2015) 7 NWLR (Pt 1459) 478 at 500 where similar injunctive orders were sought in the trial court, the Supreme Court, per Fabiyi, JSC stated inter alia as follows;
“It occurs to me that the injunctive relief sought by the appellants, as plaintiffs at the trial court against the 2ndrespondent from accepting the names of the 3rd – 7th respondents in substitution for their own names in respect of the April, 2011 elections is no longer feasible. It cannot be made any longer. See Ohakim v. Agbaso (2010) 12 SCNJ (Pt 2) 134, (2010) 19 NWLR (Pt. 1226) 172. I agree that the 1st respondent can no longer submit the names of the appellants to the 2nd respondent as the PDP’s candidates for the April 2011 elections. This is so in view of the provision of section 33 of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended).
– ” PER M. A. A. ADUMEIN, J.C.A.
ACADEMIC ISSUE – WHEN IS A SUIT SAID TO BE ACADEMIC
” In the case of Government of Plateau State v. Attorney-General of the Federation (supra) at 419, the Supreme Court, per Tobi, JSC stated that:
“A suit is academic where it is merely theoretical, makes empty sound, and of no practical utilitarian value to the plaintiff even if judgment is given in his favour. A suit is academic if it is not related to practical situations of human nature and humanity” PER M. A. A. ADUMEIN, J.C. A.
ACADEMIC ISSUE – ATTITUDE OF A COURT TO ACADEMIC ISSUES
“The law is that a court of law does not and will not dissipate its judicial energy and or time on an action which raises only academic questions or issues which yield no utilizable benefit to the plaintiff. See Alhaji Kashim Shettima & Anor V. Alhaji Mohammed Goni (2011) 18 NWLR (PL 1279) 413 at 479; Amalgamated Trustees Limited v. Associated Discount House Limited (2007) 15 NWLR I (PT 1056) 118 at 149; Prof. E. A. Abe v. University of llorin &Anor. (2013) 16 NWLR (Pt. 1379) 183 at 2013 and Plateau State Government v. Attorney-General, Federation (2006) 3 NWLR (Pt. 967) 346 at 419.” PER M.A. A. ADUMEIN, J.C.A.
STATUTES REFERRED TO:
Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended)
Court of Appeal Act
Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended)