WHETHER A POLITICAL PARTY IS A NECESSARY PARTY TO AN ACTION AS TO WHO THE PARTY IS SPONSORING FOR AN ELECTION

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CASE TITLE: HWANDE v. BIEM & ORS (2019) LPELR-46868(CA)

JUDGMENT DATE: 6TH MARCH, 2019 

PRACTICE AREA: ELECTORAL MATTERS

LEAD JUDGMENT: JOSEPH EYO EKANEM, J.C.A.

SUMMARY OF JUDGMENT:

INTRODUCTION

This appeal borders on Electoral Matters.

FACTS

This is an appeal against the decision of the Federal High Court, Makurdi Judicial Division delivered on the 17/1/2019 in suit No. FHC/MKD/CS/62/2018.

​The 1st respondent was a member of the Social Democratic Party (2nd respondent) a political party. He contested the primary election of the 2nd respondent held on 1/10/2018 for the selection of its candidate to contest the position of Governor of Benue State in the general election scheduled to hold in February 2019. According to him, he contested against two other candidates and emerged the winner. As a result, the 2nd respondent obtained from the 3rd respondent Form CF001 (affidavit in support of personal particulars of persons seeking election) and form EC4B (ii) (form for the nomination of Governor). The respondent filled the same and handed them over to 2nd respondent for submission to the 3rd respondent. He, later on, heard that his name was substituted with that of the 3rd respondent who did not take part in the primary election.

Aggrieved by the turn of events, 1st respondent took out an originating summons at the Federal High Court seeking the determination of some questions. The 1st respondent then sought some reliefs. After hearing counsel on all sides, the Federal High Court found in favour of the 1st respondent and granted all the reliefs sought by him.

Aggrieved by the decision, the Appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal. 

ISSUES FOR DETERMINATION

The Court determined the appeal on these issues couched as follows:

(1) Whether the trial Court had the jurisdiction to entertain the suit before it upon the incompetent Originating Summons of the plaintiff.

(2) Whether trial Court was right to exercise jurisdiction over the suit of the plaintiff before it when the principal relief of the plaintiff was not against an agent of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

(3) Whether the trial Court was right to hold that the Appellant admitted the claim of the 1st Respondent on the date that the Appellant joined the party, his nomination and close of members (register) and other substantive claims of the 1st Respondent, in the light of the deposition in the Appellant’s counter – Affidavit and unchallenged documentary evidence in support.

(4) Whether the trial Court was right to resolve the discrepancies with respect to, dates of completion of nomination forms, screening and clearance of the Appellant and conflicting affidavits and documentary evidence of parties without calling oral evidence.

(5) Whether the trial Court was right when it held that the Appellant did not participate in the primary election conducted by the 2nd Respondent and cannot become nominated as a candidate of the 2nd Respondent for election into any position in government.

DECISION/HELD

On the whole, the Court set aside the judgment of the Federal High Court in view of the decision of the Court of Appeal in Appeal NO. CA/MK/11/2019 between Social Democratic Party and John Hingah Biem & 2 Ors.

RATIOS:

  • ELECTORAL MATTERS- SPONSORSHIP OF A CANDIDATE: Whether a political party is a necessary party to an action as to who the party is sponsoring for an election; effect of failure to join the party to such action
  • ELECTORAL MATTERS- MEMBERSHIP OF A POLITICAL PARTY: Whether membership of a political party is the internal affair of a party and same is not justiciable
  • ELECTORAL MATTERS- CANDIDATE OF A PARTY: Whether a person who did not contest a primary election can be the candidate of a party in a general election
  • ELECTORAL MATTERS- POLITICAL PARTY PRIMARY: Position of the law as to the evidence of a political party where two aspirants claim to have won the primary election of the party

JURISDICTION- JURISDICTION OF THE FEDERAL HIGH COURT: Position of the law as regards the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court to hear and determine an election or election-related matter

Court of AppealLawPavilion Prime

lawpavilion • April 23, 2019


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