BEST LAW REPORT SUBSCRIPTION PRICE!!

  • Yusuf v. Obasanjo
  • 213
  • 2004-06-28
  • ₦ 200
  • Buy Now

Yusuf v. Obasanjo

ALHAJI MOHAMMED DIKKO YUSUF

MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRACY AND JUSTICE (M.D.J)

V

CHIEF OLUSEGUN OBASANJO

PEOPLES DEMOCRATIC PARTY

GENERAL MUHAMMADU BUHARI & ORS

SUPREME COURT OF NIGERIA

SALIHU MODIBBO ALFA BELGORE, JSC ( Presided )

IDRIS LEGBO KUTIGI, JSC ( Read the Lead Judgment )

UTHMAN MOHAMMED, JSC

AKINTOLA OLUFEMI EJIWUNMI, JSC

NIKI TOBI, JSC

DAHIRU MUSDAPHER, JSC

IGNATIUS CHUKWUDI PATS-ACHOLONU, JSC

SC. 193/2003

FRIDAY, 7TH MAY, 2004

ACTION - Applicable law thereto - Duty of court to interprete in determination of

ACTION -  Parties - Misjoinder - Appropriate party to urge court to strike out name of party - Respondent seeking that name of another respondent be struck out - Impropriety of

ACTION - Parties - Joinder of a party - Rationale for

ACTION - Reliefs sought - When may be granted, refused or struck out - Impropriety of court determining or striking out before considering

APPEAL - Interlocutory appeal - Duty of appellate court not to prejudge main suit

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW - Constitution, 1999, section 239(1) - Original jurisdiction of Court of Appeal to determine presidential election petition

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW - Electoral matters - When Constitution can be invoked in

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW - Supremacy of over Electoral Act No. 4 , 2002

COURT - Appeal - Interlocutory appeal - Duty of appellate court not to prejudge main suit

COURT - Court of Appeal - Original jurisdiction of to determine presidential election petitions - Constitution, 1999, section 239(1) considered

COURT - Power to dismiss action - Need for caution in exercise of

ELECTORAL MATTERS - Constitution - When can be invoked in election matters

ELECTORAL MATTERS - Election petitions - Enabling law of - Electoral Act No. 4 of 2002 referred to

ELECTORAL MATTERS - Election petition - Parties to -  Joinder of unsuccessful contestant of election - When appropriate

ELECTORAL MATTERS - Election petition - Presidential election petition - Basis of - Constitution, 1999 and Electoral Act No. 4 of 2002  considered

ELECTORAL MATTERS - Election petition - Inclusion of complaints against breaches of the Constitution and Companies and Allied Matters Act therein - Impropriety of

ELECTORAL MATTERS - Election petition - Necessary parties to

ELECTORAL MATTERS - Election petition - Parties to - Misjoinder Appropriate party to urge court to strike out name of party -

Respondent seeking that name of another respondent be struck

out - Impropriety of

ELECTORAL MATTERS - Election petition - Petitions brought under Constitution, 1999 or Electoral Act No. 4 of 2002 - Guiding rules, procedure and regulations - Uniformity of

EVIDENCE - Allegations made against party whose name has been struck out - Irrelevance of

EVIDENCE - Pleadings - Need to base on applicable law to an action

JUDGMENT AND ORDERS - Dismissal of actions - Duty of court to be cautious in ordering

JURISDICTION - Importance and nature of

JURISDICTION - Meaning and limits of

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Pleadings - Need to base on applicable law to an action

STARE DECISIS - Supreme Court decision - Bindingness of on itself and lower courts - Only ratio decidendi of decisions binding

STATUTE - Constitution, 1999 and Electoral Act No. 4 of 1999 - Basis for presidential election petition

STATUTE - Constitution, 1999, section 239(1)(a) and Electoral Act, No. 4 of 2002 - Basis for presidential election petition

STATUTE - Electoral Act, No. 4 of 2002 - Enabling law of election petitions

STATUTE - Interpretation of - Importing a statute into interpretation of another - Impropriety of

WORDS AND PHRASES - Jurisdiction - Meaning, limits, importance and nature of

Issues:

1.              Whether or not breaches of the Constitution and Companies and Allied Matters Act (1990) are cognizable in an election petition based, founded and rooted in the Constitution, in this

case under section 239(1)(a) of the 1999 Constitution.

2.              Whether or not paragraphs 12, 14 and 16 of the petition in this case are not incompetent for non-joinder of necessary parties.

3.              Whether or not 5th - 39th and 42nd - 56th respondents should be struck out from the petition.

4.              Whether or not reliefs in paragraphs 18, 19 and 20 can be sustained having regard to the circumstances of this case.

5.              Whether or not order of dismissal of the appellant’s motion on notice by the lower court was a proper order in the circumstances of this case.

Facts:

At the conclusion of hearing of various interlocutory motions, applications and objections, the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal gave a ruling which in effect struck out certain paragraphs of the petition as opposed to the entire petition as prayed by the 1st, 2nd and 40th to 55th respondents, and also refused to strike out the names of the 5th to 39th and 42 nd to 56th respondents as sought by the 1st and 2nd respondents. Dissatisfied, the 1st and 2nd respondents appealed to the Supreme Court, while the 1st and 2nd petitioners cross-appealed claiming that certain paragraphs were wrongly struck out in limine by the Tribunal thereby occasioning a miscarriage of justice.

The fulcrum of the appeal at the Supreme Court was the determination of whether complaints against breaches of the Constitution and the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) could be heard in an election petition; whether the 1st and 2nd respondents could competently seek that the names of some other respondents be struck out, when the said respondents did not oppose their joinder and were in fact represented by counsel (except the 56th respondent who was unrepresented); whether the court without hearing could strike out the reliefs sought by the petitioners; the relevance and necessity of averments against parties whose names have been struck out and the possibility or otherwise of joining unnamed Police officers, thugs and party agents whom the 1st and 2nd respondents contend should have been joined, failure of which, paragraphs which are pivoted to the petition should be struck out.

In determining the appeal, the Supreme Court considered the following enactments amongst others -

Constitution, 1999, section 239(1)(a) and (2) which provides:

“239(1) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the Court of Appeal shall, to the exclusion of any other Court of law in Nigeria, have original jurisdiction to hear and determine any questions as to whether -

(a)   any person has been validly elected to the office of

President or Vice-President under this Constitution; or

(2) In the hearing and determination of an election petition under paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of this section, the Court of Appeal shall be duly constituted if it consists of at least three

Justices of the Court of Appeal.”

The Electoral Act, sections 131(1) and (2) and 134(1) and (2) which provide:

“131(1)No election and no return at an election under this Act shall be questioned in any manner other than by a petition complaining of an undue election or undue return (in this Act referred to as an election petition) presented to the competent tribunal or court in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution or of this Act, and in which the person elected or returned is joined as a party.

    (2) In this section “tribunal or court” means -

(a)           in the case of presidential election, the Court of Appeal; and

(b)          in the case of any other election under this Act, the election tribunal established by the Constitution or by this Act.

The election tribunals provided for under the Constitution and this Act shall be constituted not later than 14 days before the election.”

“134(1) An election may be questioned on any of the following grounds, that is to say -

(a)           that the person whose election is questioned was, at the time of the election, not qualified to contest the election;

(b)          that the election was invalid by reason of corrupt practices or non-compliance with the provisions of this Act;

(c)           that the respondent was not duly elected by majority of lawful votes cast at the election; or

(d)          that the petitioner or its candidate was validly nominated but was unlawfully excluded from the election.

(2) An act or omission which may be contrary to an instruction or directive of the Commission or of an officer appointed for the purpose of the election but which is not contrary to the provisions of this Act shall not of itself be a ground for questioning the election.”