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P.R.P. v. INEC

PEOPLES REDEMPTION PARTY

V

THE INDEPENDENT NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION

THE RESIDENT ELECTORAL COMMISSIONER, KADUNA STATE

ALHAJI AHMED MOHAMMED MAKARFI

PEOPLES DEMOCRATIC PARTY (PDP)

THE RETURNING OFFICER, CHIKUN WARD ( CODE 01) & ORS.

COURT OF APPEAL

( KADUNA DIVISION )

ALOMA M. MUKHTAR, JCA ( Presided and Read the Lead Judgment )

IBRAHIM TANKO MUHAMMAD, JCA

OLUDADE OLADAPO OBADINA, JCA

ISTIFANUS THOMAS, JCA

IKECHI FRANCIS OGBUAGU, JCA

CA/K/EP/GOV/29/2003

TUESDAY, 7TH OCTOBER, 2003

APPEAL - Issues for determination - Issues with no ground of appeal Argument under same - Effect of

APPEAL - Issue for determination - Issues with no grounds of appeal covering same - Effect of

COURT - Election petition tribunal - Motions or petitions that are geared towards wasting time of - How treated

COURT - Whether can make order in vain

ELECTION PETITION - Nature of

ELECTION PETITION - Petitioner therein - Failure of to supply further and better particulars required under Order 26, rule 7 of Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2000 - Effect

FAIR HEARING - What connotes

JUDGMENT AND ORDERS - Consequential order - Meaning of

LEGAL PRACTITIONER - Counsel holding brief for another counsel Status of

MAXIM - Audi alteram partem - Purport of

PLEADINGS - Purpose of

PLEADINGS - Where substantial part of has been struck out - How treated

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2000 - Further and better particulars required under -

Failure of petitioner in an election petition to supply same - Effect

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Motions and petitions geared towards wasting election petition tribunal’s time - How treated

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Parties to litigation - Duty on

WORDS AND PHRASES - The word ‘may’ used in order 3, rule 12(2) Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2000 - What implies

Issue:

Whether, in the circumstances of this case, the Tribunal below was right in striking out the petition as it did.

Facts:

In the Governorship and Legislative House Election Tribunal holden at Kaduna the appellant who was the petitioner made various allegations against the 3,572 respondents in a petition it filed against them. There were allegations of malpractices, irregularities and failure to comply with the provisions of the Electoral Act against the 5th - 3,572nd respondents and the influencing of results of the election in favour of the 3rd respondent, who emerged the winner of the gubernatorial election in Kaduna State.

There were allegations of intimidation and bribery of voters who were hired to vote for the 3rd respondent by the agents of the 4th respondent who also thumb-printed ballot papers. Allegations of wide discrepancies between the results shown on the summary/statement of results made available to party agents and those relied upon by the 2nd respondent to declare the 3rd respondent as the winner, as there were major errors and omissions of calculation of the votes.

Series of motions on notice and notices of preliminary objection were filed by the respondents for the striking out of the petition for being incurably defective and incompetent.

The 3rd and 4th respondents equally sought for and obtained the Tribunal’s order directing the petitioner to file and deliver to the respondents further and better particulars of the averments contained in paragraphs 10, 11  and 13 of the petition as requested for in the document titled ‘schedule of particulars’. (Exhibit AMM1)

On his own part the petitioner’s counsel filed a motion dated 21st June, 2003 seeking the following orders:

(1)          An order extending the time within which the petitioner can comply with the order of this Honourable Tribunal made on the 16th day of June, 2003.

(2)          An order deeming as duly filed and served the further particulars dated the 21st day of June, 2003.

The motion was supported by an affidavit exhibiting further particulars to the petition. The motion was moved on 23/6/2003, and ruling was adjourned to 24/6/2003. On 24/6/2003, the application was dismissed as it was found to be vexatious and frivolous. After the ruling Mr. Toro, SAN addressed the Tribunal on the consequence of the dismissal and urged the court to strike out the petition. After listening to the other learned counsel, the petition was struck out.

Being dissatisfied, the petitioner/appellant has appealed to the Court of Appeal.