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Rini v. Maradun

SA’IDU ABDULLAHI RINI

PEOPLES’ DEMOCRATIC PARTY (PDP)

V

BELLO MOH’D MATAWALEN MARADUN

 

& 25 OTHERS

 

COURT OF APPEAL

( KADUNA DIVISION )

BABA ALKALI BA’ABA JCA ( Presided )

AMIRU SANUSI JCA ( Read the Lead Judgment )

JOHN INYANG OKORO JCA

CA/K/EP/NA/16/07

MONDAY, 31 MARCH 2008

ELECTORAL MATTERS - Election Petition - Reply to - Impropriety of a party/petitioner raising or introducing new issues therein

ELECTORAL MATTERS - Electoral Act - Petitioner alleging irregularities or non-compliance with - Duty on

ELECTORAL MATTERS - Alleged irregularities or non-compliance with provisions of the Electoral Act - Onus on petitioner to prove the respondent liable therefor


ELECTORAL MATTERS - Reply to respondent’s averments - Failure of petitioners to file - Effect thereof - Paragraph 16(1) of the First Schedule to the Elecotral Act, 2006

JUDGMENT AND ORDERS - Judgment of court - Effect on parties

JUDGMENT AND ORDERS - Order made by court or election Tribunal -  Effect when properly made

JUDGMENT AND ORDERS - Judgment of court or Tribunal - Need to base on issues raised or facts pleaded by parties - Effect when a judgment falls short of this criteria

Issues:

1.              Whether there was credible evidence in support of the 1st respondent’s pleading that the 1st respondent was the person whose indictment was quashed.

2.              Whether there was proper evaluation of and ascription of probative value to the evidence adduced by the petitioners in proof of their petition on grounds of non-compliance with the Electoral Act.

Facts:

The 1st appellant contested an election on the platform of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) as a member of the House of Representatives representing Maradun Bakura Federal Constituency along with the 1st respondent who contested on the platform of the All Nigerian Peoples’ Party (ANPP) in the same election. After the conduct of the election by INEC, the 2nd respondent was returned by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the elected candidate for Maradun Bakura Constituency.

The appellants aggrieved, petitioned the Tribunal complaining that the 1st respondent was not qualified to contest the election and for noncompliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2006. They claimed that the 1st respondent had been indicted for embezzlement and fraud by an Administratives panel of Enquiry, and as a results’ of the 1st respondent’s confession to INEC, the 1st respondent was not qualified to contest the election. The Tribunal in its finding dismissed the appellants petition affirming the election of the 1st respondent.

Dissatisfied, the appellants appealed against the Tribunal’s decision. The Court of Appeal after resolving the issues put forward by the appellants and respondent’s which were similar to those raised at theTribunal, found amongst other things that the appellants, failure to reply to the 1st respondent’s averment in its pleadings that the alleged indictment had been quashed by the Federal High Court is tantamount to an admission by them that the 1st respondent was indeed qualified to contest the election.