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ENGR. NEWTON IKECHUKWU UGWUEGEDE v. HON. DR. PATRICK AZIOKOJA ASADU & ORS

(2018) LPELR-43717(SC)

In The Supreme Court of Nigeria

On Friday, the 9th day of February, 2018

SC.534/2015


Before Their Lordships

OLABODE RHODES-VIVOUR Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

MARY UKAEGO PETER-ODILI Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

CLARA BATA OGUNBIYI Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

AMIRU SANUSI Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

SIDI DAUDA BAGE Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria


Between

ENGR. NEWTON IKECHUKWU UGWUEGEDE - Appellant(s)

AND

1. HON. DR. PATRICK AZIOKOJA ASADU
2. PEOPLES DEMOCRATIC PARTY (PDP)
3. NATIONAL WORKING COMMITTEE OF THE PEOPLES DEMOCRATIC PARTY
4. INDEPENDENT NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION - 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, Coram: Moore A. A. Adumein, J.C.A. (presiding), Tani Yusuf Hassan, J.C.A. and Muhammed Mustapha, J.C.A., delivered on 1st July 2015 in Appeal No. CA/A/177A/2015.

The Appellant, the 1st Respondent and other aspirants participated in the Peoples' Democratic Party (PDP) Party Primary election conducted on 6th December 2014 to enable the 2nd Respondent (PDP) produce its candidate to contest in the election for the Federal House of Representatives for Nsukka/Igbo-Eze South Federal Constituency. At the primaries, 1st Respondent emerged as the aspirant that scored the highest votes cast in the said primary election of 6th December 2014 but his name was not submitted as candidate of the 2nd Respondent. 

The 1st Respondent protested to the Appeal panel set up by the National Working Committee (3rd Respondent) on behalf of the 2nd Respondent. The Appeal Panel heard the appeal and upheld the appeal of the 1st Respondent and confirmed the 1st Respondent, as against the Appellant, was the aspirant that scored the highest number of votes cast in the primary election. The 1st Respondent was consequently issued with the requisite forms for the general election to have his name submitted to INEC (the 4th Respondent). This notwithstanding, the 2nd Respondent still failed, refused and neglected to submit the 1st Respondent's case to the 4th Respondent.

All efforts made by the 1st Respondent to have the issue resolved within the party structure failed as a result of which he approached the Federal High Court in Suit No.FHC/ABJ/CS/50/2015 by way of originating summons dated 2nd February 2015 for the determination of the issues or questions contained therein. On 1st April 2015, the Court delivered its judgment and granted the reliefs sought by the 1st Respondent.

Not being satisfied, the Appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal in Appeal No. CA/A/177A/2015. The appeal was lodged at the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division. The appeal was heard, and on the on 1st July 2015, the Court delivered its judgment in the appeal wherein it dismissed the appeal as lacking in merit. Still not satisfied, the Appellant appealed to the Supreme Court.

ISSUES:
The Court determined the appeal on this sole issue it couched as follows:

"Whether the Court below was right in upholding the finding/decision of the learned trial Court that the suit was validly commenced by the originating summons and that it has jurisdiction to entertain the suit as predicated on Section 87(9) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) on the ground of a breach of Section 87(1), 87(4)(c)(i) and (ii) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as  amended)."
DECISION/HELD:
On the whole, the Court found no merit in the appeal and accordingly dismissed same.


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