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  • 2004-06-07
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Kalu v. Ohuabunwa

BARRISTER UMEH KALU

V

CHIEF MAO. A. OHUABUNWA

INDEPENDENT NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION

RETURNING OFFICER FOR AROCHUKWU/OHAFIA FEDERAL CONSTITUENCY

ELECTORAL OFFICER FOR OHAFIA LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA

ELECTORAL OFFICER, AROCHUKWU LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA

THE RESIDENT ELECTORAL COMMISSIONER, ABIA STATE

RETURNING OFFICER FOR NDIELU NKPORO WARD

RETURNING OFFICER FOR NDI ETITI NKPORO WARD

RETURNING OFFICER FOR NDI AGBO NKPORO WARD

RETURNING OFFICER FOR OHAFOR WARD 1, ABAM

RETURNING OFFICER FOR OKAMU WARD OHAFIA

RETURNING OFFICER FOR AGBOJI AWARD ABIRIBA

RETURNING OFFICER FOR AMAOGUDU WARD ABIRIBA

RETURNING OFFICER FOR AMAEKE WARD ABIRIBA

RETURNING OFFICER FOR OVUKWU WARD ABAM

RETURNING OFFICER FOR AROCHUKWU WARD 1

RETURNING OFFICER AROCHUKWU WARD 2

RETURNING OFFICER AROCHUKWU WARD 3

PRESIDING OFFICER FOR AMAIYI HALL POLLING STATION

PRESIDING OFFICER FOR AMANKPO WOMEN HALL POLLING STATION

PRESIDING OFFICER UKAOFIA/AMAFOR HALL POLLING STATION

PRESIDING OFFICER FOR AGBAJA VILLAGE HALL 11 , 009 - POLLING STATION

PRESIDING OFFICER FOR AMURIE PRIMARY SCHOOL POLLING STATION

COURT OF APPEAL

( PORT HARCOURT DIVISION )

SUNDAY A. AKINTAN, JCA ( Presided and Read the Lead Judgment )

ABOYI JOHN IKONGBEH, JCA

DAVID ADEDOYIN ADENIJI, JCA

CA/PH/EPT/170/2003

WEDNESDAY, 5TH NOVEMBER, 2003

ELECTION PETITION - Necessary parties therein - Failure to join such parties - Whether could per se vitiate the election petition

Issue:

Whether the election tribunal was right in striking out the petition for non-joinder of some electoral officials whose conducts were the subject of complaints in the petition.

Facts:

This is an appeal against the ruling of the National Assembly Election Tribunal holden at Umuahia. The ruling was delivered on 16th June, 2003. The present appellant, Umeh Kalu, was a candidate at the election into Arochukwu/Ohafia Federal Constituency of the National Assembly held on 12th April, 2003. He contested the election on the platform of the National Democratic Party (NDP). There were in all six candidates who contested the election along with the appellant. The 1st respondent, Chief Mao Ohuabunwa was one of the six candidates that contested the election along with the appellant. The 2nd respondent, INEC, was the body that conducted the election; while the 3rd to 23rd respondents were officials of the 2nd respondent that were involved in conducting the election.

At the conclusion of the election, the 2nd respondent declared the result as follows:

(a)           Mao Ohuabunwa (PDP)   -           51 ,991 votes

(b)          Dr. Sampson Orji (ANPP) -           16 ,529 votes

(c)

Umeh Kalu (NDP)

-

16 ,195 votes

(d)

Eke Uwagwu Kalu (APGA)

-

 9,090 votes

(e)

Nwaka Inem (UNPP)

-

 1,361 votes

(f)

Sunny Ojiogu (JP)

-

      48 votes

The 1st respondent, having scored the highest votes, was declared the winner by the 2nd respondent. The appellant was dissatisfied with the results declared and he accordingly filed the petition at the Tribunal.

Upon service of the petition on the 1st respondent, a conditional appearance was entered on his behalf. Similarly, another conditional appearance was filed on behalf of the 2nd to 22nd respondents. The 1st respondent then on 2nd June, 2003 filed a 20 - paragraph reply to the petition. The 1st respondent also filed a motion on 4th June, 2003 in which he prayed the Tribunal for some reliefs among which is that the petition is statutebarred. The two motions thereafter came up for hearing before the Tribunal. Two other candidates that contested the election along with the appellant also filed separate petitions against the result. Similar motions as in the instant case were filed against the other petitions. The Tribunal decided to consolidate all the motions filed against each of the cases and took submissions of all the counsel in the case. The ruling delivered which is now on appeal dealt also with the other two similar petitions filed against the same result. After taking submissions from counsel in the case, the Tribunal delivered its considered ruling in the motions on 16th June, 2003.

The Tribunal struck out the petition.

Dissatisfied, the appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal.