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  • 2005-01-03
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Digai v. Nanchang

HON. NANTIM CHAKVEN DIGAI

PEOPLES DEMOCRATIC PARTY (PDP)

V

NAPCWAT NDINUR NANCHANG

ALL NIGERIAN PEOPLES PARTY

THE INDEPENDENT NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION

COURT OF APPEAL

( JOS DIVISION )

OLUDADE OLADAPO OBADINA JCA ( Presided )

AMIRU SANUSI JCA

IKECHI FRANCIS OGBUAGU JCA ( Read the Lead Judgment )

CA/J/185/2003

THURSDAY, 16TH OCTOBER, 2003

APPEAL - Credibility of witnesses - Complaint of - Impropriety of appeal court intervening in

APPEAL - Evaluation of evidence - Appeal court substituting its own views for that of trial court - Impropriety of

APPEAL- Reply brief - Failure to file - Consequence of

COURT - Appeal court - Impropriety of its intervening when the complaint in an appeal is as to credibility of witness

COURT - Credibility of witnesses - Assessment of - Trial court and not appeal court as court responsible for

COURT - Evaluation of evidence - Appeal court substituting its own views for that of trial court - Impropriety of

COURT - Unchallenged evidence of witness - Propriety of court acting upon


CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE - Standard of proof of allegation of crimes in any proceeding - Need for proof beyond reasonable doubt

ELECTION PETITION - Membership of House of Assembly -

Qualification for

ELECTION PETITION - Qualification to contest election -  ‘School Certificate or its equivalent’ as a requirement for - Interpretation of

EVIDENCE - Affidavit - Averments therein - Where not challenged Effect of

EVIDENCE - Credibility of witnesses - Aids to determining

EVIDENCE - Credibility of witnesses - Assessment of - Trial court and not appeal court as court responsible for

EVIDENCE - Cross-examination - Failure to cross-examine witness on vital issue or evidence - Consequence of

EVIDENCE - Evaluation of evidence by trial court -  Impropriety of appeal court substituting its own views for

EVIDENCE - Proof - Duty of he who asserts to prove

EVIDENCE - Standard of proof of allegation of crimes in any proceeding - Need for proof beyond reasonable doubt

EVIDENCE - Unchallenged evidence of witness - Propriety of court acting upon

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Allegation of crime in civil or criminal proceedings - Need for proof beyond reasonable doubt

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Party who asserts - Duty on to prove

WORDS AND PHRASES - ‘School certificate or its equivalent’ for the purpose of qualification to contest elections - Meaning of

Issues:

1.              Whether the trial tribunal was right in holding that the 1st respondent was educationally qualified to contest the election to the Plateau State House of Assembly representing the Langtang North Constituency.

2.              Whether the trial tribunal was right in holding from the evidence before her that the 1st respondent had attained the statutory age of thirty years.

3.              Whether the 1st respondent gave false information as to disqualify him from contesting the election.

Facts:

The 1st appellant herein was a candidate at the election into the Plateau State House of Assembly representing Langtang North Constituency on the platform of the 2nd appellant. He lost the seat to the 1st respondent and consequently filed a petition on 2nd June, 2003, before the National Assembly/Governorship and Legislative House Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Jos challenging the return of the respondent on the ground that the 1 st respondent was not qualified to contest the said election.

In the said petition, the appellant prayed for the following reliefs:

(1)           That it be determined that 1st respondent was disqualified from contesting the election into the seat of the Langtang North Constituency of the Plateau State House of Assembly held on 3rd May, 2003.

(2)           That it be determined that the 1st respondent was by virtue of this non-qualification not duly elected or returned as member of the Plateau State House of Assembly representing the Langtang North Constituency, and that his election was void.

(3)           That the 1st petitioner being the next person with the highest number of votes be declared duly elected and returned as member of the Plateau State House of Assembly representing Langtang North Constituency.

At the conclusion of the trial, the trial tribunal dismissed the appellants’ petition in its entirety.

Being dissatisfied, the appellants have appealed to the Court of Appeal.