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Peretu v. Gariga

  1. MR. PERES PERETU
  2. MR. EDDY JULIUS
  3. EBIKITIN SUNDAY DIONGOLI
  4. BAYELSA STATE INDEPENDENT ELECTORAL COMMISSION
  5. CHIEF RUFUS ABADI

V

  1. CHIEF KOKO GARIGA
  2. CHIEF INEYE INGBAIFEGHA
  3. SELEKEBINA SABOR
  4. CHIEF DARIUS OBIENE

( Sued in his capacity as erstwhile Chairman of PDP Ad-hoc Electoral Panel)

  1. MR. JAMES AGARI

( Sued in his official capacity as the secretary of the PDP State Executive Committee in Bayelsa State)

SUPREME COURT OF NIGERIA

MAHMUD MOHAMMED JSC ( Presided )

MUHAMMAD SAIFULLAH MUNTAKA-COOMASSIE JSC

BODE RHODES-VIVOUR JSC

NWALI SYLVESTER NGWUTA JSC ( Read the Lead Judgment )

STANLEY SHENKO ALAGOA JSC

SC. 127/2012

FRIDAY, 14 DECEMBER 2012

APPEAL - Concurrent findings by lower court - Supreme Court - Attitude of thereto

COURT - Competence of - Determinants

COURT - Supreme Court - Attitude of to concurrent findings of fact by lower courts

ELECTION PETITION - Proper candidate to be sponsored by political party - Issue of - Court - Lack of jurisdiction of thereon

ELECTORAL MATTERS - Political party - Constitution of - Ouster clauses therein - Effect of - Non-compliance with - Questions relating to - Whether court precluded from determining

JURISDICTION - Political party - Constitution of - Ouster clauses therein - Effect of - Non-compliance with - Questions relating to -  Whether court precluded from determining

JURISDICTION - Political party - Proper candidate to be sponsored by - Issue - Lack of jurisdiction of court thereon

POLITICAL PARTY  - Constitution of - Ouster clause therein - Effect of -  Non-compliance with - Question relating to - Whether precludes a court from determining

WORDS AND PHRASES - ‘Substitution’ and ‘substitute’ - Meanings of

Issues:

  1. Whether from the facts of this case, the High Court had the requisite jurisdiction to entertain the claims of the 1st - 3rd respondents.
  2. Whether the Court of Appeal was right to conclude that the 1 st -3rd respondents were illegally substituted as chairmanship candidates for the Peoples’ Democratic Party.
  3. Whether there were concurrent findings of facts by the High Court and the Court of Appeal which are perverse and liable to be set aside.
  4. Whether, having regard to the facts and circumstances of this case, the Court of Appeal rightly relied on section 15 of the Court of Appeal Act to decide in favour of the 1st - 3rd respondents.

Facts:

The plaintiffs claimed that they were duly nominated as candidates of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) for the election as chairmen of  their various local government areas, but that their names were dropped and substituted with the names of 2nd to 6th defendants who subsequently participated in the election. They therefore commenced an action in the Bayelsa State High Court, via originating motion, seeking determination of the following questions: whether the 1st defendant is not under obligation by the combined provisions of articles 13.1(c) and 13.22 of P.D.P’s Constitution, 2009 ( as amended), and all other provisions of the Constitution, to screen the plaintiffs as the lawfully nominated candidates for the party for Sagbama, Kolokuma/Opokuma, Ogbia, Ekerenor and Yenagoa L.G.A, respectively of Bayelsa State in respect of forthcoming local government election in Bayelsa State for 3 April 2010, having been presented to it by the 9th defendant; whether the 9th defendant, as against the 8th defendant is not the one legally empowered to issue certificates of return and present the names of validly nominated candidates for the election and whether the 8th defendant is legally empowered to overturn certificates of return already issued by the 9 th defendant to the plaintiffs by issuing subsequent certificates of return to the 2nd - 6th defendants. They sought declaratory and injunctive reliefs that; the 1st defendant is under legal obligation to screen the plaintiffs as the lawfully nominated candidates; the purported screening of 2nd to 6th defendants as chairmanship candidates of P.D.P. is illegal, null and void; the 9 th defendant and not 8th defendant is legally empowered to issue certificate of return or overturn same; order setting aside the certificates issued by him to 2nd - 6th defendants as chairmanship candidates for the above mentioned local government areas and compelling it to accept and screen the plaintiffs as the validly nominated chairman candidates. The trial court dismissed plaintiffs’ claims. Aggrieved, they appealed to the Court of Appeal, where the appeal was allowed and an order made declaring them as the lawfully elected chairpersons of the local governments. Also aggrieved, the defendants appealed to the Supreme Court.