THE EFFECT OF FILING ADDITIONAL WITNESS(ES) STATEMENT ON OATH OUT OF TIME UNDER THE ELECTORAL ACT

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CASE TITLE: DAMINA & ANOR v. ADAMU & ORS (2019) LPELR-48404(CA)

JUDGMENT DATE: 22ND AUGUST, 2019

PRACTICE AREA: ELECTORAL PETITION.

LEAD JUDGMENT: TANI YUSUF HASSAN, J.C.A.

SUMMARY OF JUDGMENT:

INTRODUCTION

This appeal borders on Electoral Petition.

FACTS

This is an appeal against the decision of the National/State Houses of Assembly Tribunals, Panel 1, Bauchi State.

The 3rd respondent conducted the election for the States House of Assembly on the 9th of March, 2019. The 1st appellant contested the election for the seat of Darazo Constituency State House of Assembly as a candidate for the 2nd appellant and the 1st respondent contested for the same seat as a candidate for the 2nd respondent. At the conclusion of the election, the 1st appellant was declared the winner.

The 1st and 2nd respondents filed a petition before the Election Petition Tribunal, challenging the declaration of the 1st appellant as the winner of the election. The petitioners’/respondents applied for issuance of pre-hearing notice. They indicated their intention to file additional witnesses’ statements on oath. They intended to call fifty witnesses, out of which five were listed and attached to the petition. The pre-hearing session commenced and was concluded, after which the 1st & 2nd respondents filed twenty-one additional witnesses’ Statements on Oath.

The appellants filed a motion, asking inter alia for, an order striking out the petitioners “list of additional witnesses”. The trial Tribunal refused to grant same. Dissatisfied, appellants appealed to the Court of Appeal.

ISSUES FOR DETERMINATION

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

  1. Whether the trial Tribunal was right in accepting the 21 additional witnesses’ statements on oath filed by the 1st and 2nd respondents, 77 days from the date of filing their petition and without the leave of the Tribunal first sought and obtained.
  2. Whether the filing of the 21 additional witnesses’ statements on oath by the 1st and 2nd respondents has not over-reached the appellants herein.

DECISION/HELD

In conclusion, the Court allowed the appeal. The 21 additional witnesses’ statements on oath were struck out.

RATIOS:

  • ELECTION PETITION – ELECTION PETITION PROCEEDINGS: Time prescribed for filing additional statements of witnesses in an election petition proceedings; effect of failure to comply
  • ELECTION PETITION – APPEAL ARISING FROM ELECTION PETITION: Position of the law on interlocutory appeal arising from election proceedings
Court of AppealElectionElection petitionElectoral matterslatest judgmentsLawPavilionLawPavilion OnlineLawPavilion PrimeNigerian Lawyers

lawpavilion • September 9, 2019


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