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SENATOR AYOGU EZE v. PEOPLES DEMOCRATIC PARTY & ORS

(2018) LPELR-44907(SC)

In The Supreme Court of Nigeria

On Friday, the 6th day of July, 2018

SC.248/2017


Before Their Lordships

OLUKAYODE ARIWOOLA Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

MUSA DATTIJO MUHAMMAD Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

KUDIRAT MOTONMORI OLATOKUNBO KEKERE-EKUN Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

EJEMBI EKO Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

PAUL ADAMU GALINJE Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria


Between

SENATOR AYOGU EZE - Appellant(s)

AND

1. PEOPLES DEMOCRATIC PARTY [PDP)
2. THE NATIONAL WORKING COMMITTEE OF THE PEOPLES DEMOCRATIC PARTY
3. INDEPENDENT NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION [INEC]
4. HON. IFEANYI LAWRENCE UGWUANYI - Respondent(s)


Other Citations

; ;


Summary

INTRODUCTION:
This appeal borders on Electoral Matters.
FACTS:
This is an appeal against the judgment of the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, upturning the decision of the Federal High Court, Abuja.

The first Respondent had, on the 1st of November, 2014, conducted ward congresses in all the wards of the State, in which three delegates were elected from each ward. The delegates so elected were saddled with the responsibility of voting in the primary election fixed for 8th December, 2014 in order to elect the 1st Respondent's candidate for the Governorship Election in Enugu State. When an issue arose as to the 1st Respondent's commitment to utilizing the list of the delegates, some delegates proceeded to the Federal High Court and initiated an action. In his judgment, Ademola J., sanctioned and or recognized the list submitted by the plaintiffs as the authentic delegates to the primary election.
???The National Working Committee of the Respondent appointed a panel under the leadership of His Royal Highness King Asara A. Asara, to conduct the primary election of 8th December, 2014. The Appellant refused to participate in the primary election conducted by H.R.H Asara A Asara, on the ground that the list submitted for the primary election which was in possession of King Asara A. Asara deviated from his own. It was his claim that a parallel primary election, in which the list of delegates sanctioned by the Federal High Court was used in conducting the election, had elected him as the Governorship candidate of the 1st Respondent. The Appellant therefore did not participate in the primary election organized by the panel that was appointed by the 1st and 2nd Respondents, in which the 4th respondent emerged the winner.

The appellant proceeded to the trial Court, via an originating summons, against the respondents, and claimed some declaratory and injunctive reliefs. Parties filed and exchanged pleadings. The 4th respondent filed a preliminary objection to the originating summons, questioning the locus standi of the appellant to institute the action. Arguments in respect of the preliminary objections and the substantive suit were heard together by the trial Court which, in a considered judgment, overruled the preliminary objections, assumed jurisdiction and dismissed appellant's suit it adjudged unmeritorious.

Dissatisfied with the trial Court's dismissal of his suit on the merit, the appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal in appeal no. CA/A/157/2015. Equally aggrieved, the 1st, 2nd and 4th respondents appealed against the trial Court's assumption of jurisdiction over appellant's suit. The Court of Appeal considered the appeals separately and affirmed the trial Court's finding that the appellant had failed to prove his case and dismissed same. The Court allowed respondents' appeals and struck out the suit at the trial Court having been commenced by the appellant who was lacking the necessary locus standi. Aggrieved,  appellant appealed to the Supreme Court.

ISSUES:
The issue for determination is:
"Whether the learned Justices of the Court below were not wrong in their view and their conclusion that the Appellant has no locus-standi to initiate or institute the action, that his case was based on parallel primary of PDP when this was not the case and in striking out the case on the ground of lack of jurisdiction."

DECISION/HELD:
In conclusion, the appeal was dismissed.


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