(Supreme Court – February 20th, 2015 )
Legalpedia Electronic Citation L:ER SC.130/2013
Areas of Law:
ELECTORAL LAW, LAW OF EVIDENCE, CONSTITUTIONAL LAW, JURISDICTION, ACTION, APPEAL
Summary of Facts:
The names of the Plaintiffs/Appellants who participated and won the primary election conducted by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the nomination of candidates in respect of some constituencies in Enugu State for the 2011 General Elections were not forwarded by the party to the INEC, rather the 3rd – 7th Defendants names were sent to the INEC. The Plaintiffs/Appellants instituted an action at the Federal High Court by Originating Summons seeking declaratory reliefs that they were the ones entitled to have their names submitted to the 2nd Defendant as candidates for the election. The 3rd -7th Defendants on being joined by an application, contended that a re-run election for aspirant to membership of the state and National Assemblies was ordered as a result of which the names of the 3rd -7th Defendants were submitted to the 2nd Defendants as the duly nominated candidates of the PDP for various elective positions in the forthcoming general election. The Defendants filed preliminary objection praying the court to strike out the suit for being non- justiciable and that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain same. The trial judge in its ruling which was delivered a year after the election was held, upheld the objection of the 1st Defendant and dismissed the suit. Dissatisfied with the decision of the trial court, the Plaintiffs/Appellants appealed to the Court of Appeal which dismissed the appeal. Further dissatisfied, they have appealed to this court.
Issue for Determination:
Whether the latter decision of this Court in C.P.C. & Anor vs Hon. Emmanuel David Ombugadu & Anor supra has altered the legal position on the non justiciability by the Court in deciding which of two primaries conducted by the party is the valid primary for the purpose of identifying the candidates who are supposed to be presented to the Independent National Electoral Commission for the election
JURISDICTION OF THE HIGH COURT – THE SPECIAL JURISDICTION VESTED IN THE HIGH COURT DOES NOT DEROGATE FROM THE GENERAL JURISDICTION OF THE HIGH COURT
“In C.P.C. & Anor vs Hon. Emmanuel David Ombugadu & Anor (supra), this Court citing Section 6 (1) & (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) held that the special jurisdiction vested in the High Court (Federal, State or FCT) does not derogate from the general jurisdiction of the High Court, being one of the courts established for the Federation.”PER K. B. AKA’AHS, J.S.C.
NOMINATION OF CANDIDATE FOR ELECTION –PROCEDURE FOR NOMINATION OF CANDIDATE FOR ELECTION- SECTION 87 (1) (4) (C) (i)(ii) (7) & (9) OF THE ELECTORAL ACT 2010 (AS AMENDED)
Section 87 (1) (4) (c) (i)(ii) (7) & (9) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) which provides as follows:-
“87 – (1) A political party seeking to nominate candidates for election under this Act shall hold primaries for aspirants to all elective positions
(4) A political party that adopts the system of indirect primaries for the choice of its candidate shall adopt the procedure outlined below-
(c) in the case of nominations to the position of a Senatorial Candidate, House of Representatives and State House of Assembly a political party shall, where they intend to sponsor candidates-
hold special congresses in the Senatorial District, Federal Constituency and the State Assembly Constituency respectively, with delegated voting for each of the aspirants in designated centres on specified dates;
The aspirant with the highest number of votes at the end of voting shall be declared the winner of the primaries of the party and the aspirant’s name shall be forwarded to the commission as the candidate of the party.
(7) A political party that adopts the system of indirect primaries for the choice of its candidate shall clearly outline in its constitution and rules the procedure for the democratic election of delegates to vote at the convention, congress or meeting
(9) Notwithstanding the provisions of the Act or rules of a political party, an aspirant who complains that any of the provisions of this Act and the guidelines of the political party has not been compiled with in the selection or nomination of a candidate of a political party for election, may apply to the Federal High Court or the High court of a State for redress.“PER K. B. AKA’AHS, J.S.C.
NOMINATION OR SPONSORSHIP OF A CANDIDATE FOR ELECTION – NOMINATION OR SPONSORSHIP OF A CANDIDATE BY A POLITICAL PARTY IS A DOMESTIC RIGHT OF THE PARTY
“This Court in P.D.P. vs Sylva (2012) 13 NWLR (Part 1316) 85 stated that the right to nominate or sponsor a candidate by a political party is a domestic right of the party and a member of the party has no legal right to be nominated/sponsored by his party.” PER K. B. AKA’AHS, J.S.C.
CONFLICTING AFFIDAVIT EVIDENCE-WHERE THERE IS EXISTENCE OF CONFLICT IN AFFIDAVIT EVIDENCE, SAME MUST BE RESOLVED BY CALLING ORAL EVIDENCE
“In Falobi vs Falobi(1976) 9 – 10 SC this Court laid down the principle that where the affidavit evidence filed are in conflict, the Court seised of the matter must resolve the conflict by calling oral evidence.” PER K. B. AKA’AHS, J.S.C.
SECTION 87(9) OF THE ELECTORAL ACT – AN AGGRIEVED PARTY SHOULD HAVE AN AVENUE TO LAY COMPLAINTS AND VENTILATE HIS GRIEVANCE FOR PURPOSE OF SEEKING REDRESS.
“Section 87(9) of the Electoral Act envisages that an aggrieved party should have an avenue to lay complaint and ventilate his grievance for purpose of seeking redress. Such complaint must however arise as a result of non compliance with the party’s Constitution and guidelines for purpose of conferring jurisdiction on the Court”. PER C. B. OGUNBIYI, J.S.C.
JUSTICIABILITY OF A SUBJECT MATTER – THE CONSTITUTION AND GUIDELINES OF A POLITICAL PARTY DETERMINES THE JUSTICIABILITY OR OTHERWISE OF A SUBJECT MATTER
“It is the party’s Constitution and guidelines that determines whether or not the subject matter is justiciable and upon which the court can exercise jurisdiction.” PER C. B.OGUNBIYI, J.S.C.
SPONSORSHIP OF CANDIDATES FOR ELECTION – SPONSORSHIP OF CANDIDATES FOR ELECTION IS WITHIN THE EXCLUSIVE DOMAIN OF A POLITICAL PARTY
“The law is well established as held by this court that sponsorship of candidates for election is within the exclusive control and domain of the political party and this is binding on all courts pursuant to section 287 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.” PER C. B.OGUNBIYI, J.S.C.
SUBSTITUTION OF CANDIDATE – INSTANCE WHERE A POLITICAL PARTY WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO SUBSTITUTE ITS CANDIDATE WHOSE NAME HAS BEEN SUBMITTED -SECTION 33 OF THE ELECTORAL ACT 2010 (AS AMENDED)
“A political party shall not be allowed to change or substitute its candidate whose name has been submitted pursuant to section 31 of this act, except in the case of death or withdrawal by the candidate.” PER J.A. FABIYI, J.S.C.
Statues Referred to:
Electoral Act 2010 (as amended)
Federal High Court Rules 2009
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