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James Yakubu & Anor V Independent National Electoral Commssion & 5 Ors

At the conclusion of the election, the 5th Respondent was declared the winner having scored the highest vote while the Appellant came second. The 1st Appellant being dissatisfied with the return of the 5th Respondent presented a petition to the Governorship and Legislative Houses Election Tribunal challenging his return...

Court Of Appeal – November, 2015
Legalpedia Electronic Citation LER[2015]CA/J/EP/HR/22/2008
Areas of Law:
APPEAL, ELECTION PETITION, JUDGMENT, JURISDICTION, LAW OF EVIDENCE, PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE, WORDS AND PHRASES
Summary of Facts
The Petitioner /1st Appellant and the 5th Respondent contested for the Bassa/Jos North Federal Constituency Seat on 21st April, 2008 under the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) respectively. At the conclusion of the election, the 5th Respondent was declared the winner having scored the highest vote while the Appellant came second. The 1st Appellant being dissatisfied with the return of the 5th Respondent presented a petition to the Governorship and Legislative Houses Election Tribunal challenging his return on grounds of lack of sponsorship and nomination by the 6th Respondent as a candidate and lack of qualification of the 5th Respondent as candidate for the election for being indicted for fraud. The tribunal at the end of the trial dismissed the petition whilst confirming the 5th Respondent as duly elected for the Bassa/Jos North Federal Constituency. Dissatisfied with the judgment of the tribunal, the Appellants lodged the instant appeal.
Held
Appeal Dismissed
Issues for Determination

  • Whether the Tribunal was right when she declined jurisdiction on grounds 1 and 2 of the petition on the reason that the grounds relate to sponsorship and nomination of candidate (grounds 4, 5 and 7).
  • Whether the judgment of the Tribunal in its totality was not perverse and if it was what are the consequential reliefs this Honourable Court can grant? (Grounds 3

Rationes:
JURISDICTION -DETERMINATION ON WHETHER A COURT OR TRIBUNAL HAS JURISDICTION
“To determine whether a court or Tribunal has jurisdiction to entertain a matter recourse is had to the plaintiff’s claim or the petitioner’s petition. See Action Congress vs. INEC (supra), Adebusuyi vs. Oduyoye (2004) 1 NWLR Pt. 854 pg 406 at 430-431, Okulaye Vs. Awosanya (2002) 2 NWLR Pt. 646 at pg 530.PER U. NDUKWE-ANYANWU, J.C.A


PLEADINGS – PREREQUISITE FOR AMENDMENT OF PLEADINGS

“It is also settled law that parties are bound by their pleadings and cannot be allowed to change midstream without leave for amendment. See the cases of George vs. Dominion Flour Mills (1963) 3 NSCC pg 54; Metalimpex Vs. A-G Leventis (1976)10 N.S.C.C.pg 76. FHA vs. Somer 1986 1 NWLR Pt. 17 pg 533 at 537 – 41, FalomoVs. Onakanmi (2005) 11 NWLR Pt. 935 pg 126 at 154, M.I.N Ltd Vs. M.F.K.W.A Ltd (2005) 10 NWLR Pt 934 pg 645 at 671.PER U. NDUKWE-ANYANWU, J.C.A

NOMINATION – MEANING OF NOMINATION

“Nomination means or amounts to earmarking a candidate for election for a particular office/position. The definition of nomination in the case of PPA Vs. Saraki (2007) 17 NWLR Pt. 1044 pg453 aptly conveyed the meaning of the word in all its ramification and it reads:
“Nominate means to propose formally that somebody should be chosen for a position, office or a task. To propose a person for election or opportunity.” PER U. NDUKWE-ANYANWU, J.C.A

NOMINATION AND SPONSORSHIP OF CANDIDATES IN AN ELECTION – NOMINATION AND SPONSORSHIP OF CANDIDATES IN AN ELECTION IS THE BUSINESS OF A POLITICAL PARTY

“It should also be borne in mind that nomination and sponsorship of candidates are entirely the business of a Political Party see Rimi vs. INEC (2005) 6 NWLR Pt. 920 pg 56 at 70, Tsoho vs. Yahaya (1999) 4 NWLR Pt. 600 pg 657 at 671, Rimi Vs INEC (supra).” PER U. NDUKWE-ANYANWU, J.C.A
NOMINATION AND SPONSORSHIP OF A CANDIDATE – PROPER PARTY WHO CAN INITIATE A COMPLAINT AGAINST THE NOMINATION AND SPONSORSHIP OF A CANDIDATE
“The only person who can bring a complaint against nomination and sponsorship is a party member or the party itself. It does not lie in the mouth of the Appellant to complain about the sponsorship and nomination of candidate of another party not his own. See Ukpo Vs. Adede (supra)”. PER U. NDUKWE-ANYANWU, J.C.A

NOMINATION AND SPONSORSHIP OF CANDIDATE IN AN ELECTION – NOMINATION AND SPONSORSHIP OF CANDIDATE IN AN ELECTION ARE PRE-ELECTION MATTERS WHICH THE FEDERAL HIGH COURT HAS JURISDICTION TO ENTERTAIN

“Nomination and sponsorship are pre-election matters amenable to the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court under Section 32(4) of the Electoral Act 2006. It is therefore not a post election issue that the Election Tribunal has jurisdiction to entertain. See the cases of Jang Vs. Dariye (2003) 15 NWLR Pt. 843 pg 436 at 459 – 60, Action Congress Vs INEC (2007) 18 NWLR Pt. 1065 pg 50 at 73, where it was held that:
“The issues of disqualification, nomination, substitution and sponsorship of candidates for an election precede election matters and are therefore pre-election matters.” PER U. NDUKWE-ANYANWU, J.C.A

JUDGMENT BY A TRIBUNAL – A JUDGMENT BY A TRIBUNAL THAT IT HAS NO JURISDICTION CANNOT AMOUNT TO PERVERSE JUDGMENT

“A judgment delivered by a Tribunal holding that it had no jurisdiction cannot be perverse when it did not have to evaluate such evidence to reach its decision. The only question it had to deal with was that of jurisdiction”. PER U. NDUKWE-ANYANWU, J.C.ANOMINATION AND SPONSORSHIP OF CANDIDATES IN AN ELECTION – THE COURT OF APPEAL CANNOT INVOKE JURISDICTION TO ENTERTAIN THE NOMINATION AND SPONSORSHIP OF CANDIDATES IN AN ELECTION WHERE IT LACKS SAME
“If the Tribunal had no jurisdiction to deal with nomination and sponsorship of candidates, so also the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal cannot invoke jurisdiction when it lacks same. See the cases of C.G.G. Nig Ltd Vs. Ogu (supra) and Inakogu Vs. Adeleke (supra). There is no longer any question of a perverse judgment as it does not arise without jurisdiction. If a court lacks jurisdiction the question of perverse is no longer relevant since defect of jurisdiction relates to embarking on the case and not to what happened during the trial. See Emesim Vs. Nwachukwu (1999) 3 NWLR Pt. 596 pg 590, Abdullahi vs. Gaya LREC 144. Nnonye Vs. Anyichie (1989) 2 NWLR Pt. 101 pg 110, Jang Vs. INEC (2003) 12 NWLR Pt. 886 pg 4.” PER U. NDUKWE-ANYANWU, J.C.A
LACK OF JURISDICTION – DUTY OF A COURT OR TRIBUNAL WHERE IT LACKS JURISDICTION
“It is trite that as soon as any court or Tribunal determined that it had no jurisdiction the only option left for it is to dismiss or strike out the matter. Any other step taken would be a step in futility.” PER U. NDUKWE-ANYANWU, J.C.A
Statutes Referred To:

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