CASE TITLE: OKOLIE v. ELUMELU & ORS (2023) LPELR-61110(CA)
JUDGMENT DATE: 14TH SEPTEMBER 2023
PRACTICE AREA: ELECTORAL MATTER
LEAD JUDGMENT: HABEEB ADEWALE OLUMUYIWA ABIRU, J.C.A.
SUMMARY OF JUDGMENT:
This appeal borders on electoral matters.
This appeal is against the judgment of the National and State Houses of Assembly Election Tribunal sitting in Asaba delivered in Petition No. EPT/DL/HR/06/2023 on the 24th of July, 2023.
The Court nullified and set aside the election and return of the Appellant as the duly elected Member of the House of Representatives representing the Aniocha/Oshimili Federal Constituency of Delta State in the general election held on February 25, 2023, on the ground that the first and second Respondents, as petitioners, made out a credible case that the Appellant was not qualified to contest the election. The Court declared the first Respondent who came in second as the winner of the election, hence this appeal.
ISSUE(S) FOR DETERMINATION:
The appeal was determined on:
“Whether, from the facts and circumstances of this case as contained in the pleadings of the parties and led in evidence, the lower Court was correct when it found and held that the first and second Respondents made out a credible case to sustain their contention that the Appellant was not qualified to contest the general election held for the Member of the House of Representatives for the Aniocha/Oshimili Federal Constituency of Delta State on the 25th of February, 2023.”
The appeal was allowed.
• PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – ADJUDICATION – Whether Court can only adjudicate on the specific matters in dispute raised in the pleadings and evidence of the parties
• ELECTORAL MATTERS – QUALIFICATION/DISQUALIFICATION – Whether the issue of qualification of a candidate to contest an election is both a pre-election and an election matter
• ELECTORAL MATTERS – QUALIFICATION/DISQUALIFICATION – Whether the qualification of a candidate can be challenged as a post-election matter under Section 134(1) of the Electoral Act on grounds of the validity of his nomination process by his political party
• ELECTORAL MATTERS – NOMINATION AND SPONSORSHIP OF CANDIDATE – Who can challenge the nomination of a candidate?
• INTERPRETATION OF STATUTE—SECTION 66(1)(F) OF THE 1999 CONSTITUTION—Interpretation of Section 66(1)(f) of the 1999 Constitution as to whether the word “election” used in the sub-section applies to primary election of political parties
• LABOUR LAW – RESIGNATION – When does resignation take effect?
• ELECTORAL MATTERS – PRE/POST ELECTION MATTERS – Whether a challenge of the qualification of a candidate on grounds of non-compliance with Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act 2022 is a post-election matter
• ELECTORAL MATTERS – QUALIFICATION/DISQUALIFICATION – Whether a pre-election issue is a ground for disqualifying a candidate that has been nominated and sponsored by his political party for election under Section 134(1) of the Electoral Act
• ELECTORAL MATTERS – QUALIFICATION/DISQUALIFICATION – Whether the issue of qualification of a candidate to contest an election is both a pre-election and an election matter, which Court has jurisdiction to hear and determine same
• ELECTORAL MATTERS – NOMINATION AND SPONSORSHIP OF CANDIDATE – Whether the sponsorship of a candidate in an election is an internal affairs of the party that the Court cannot interfere with