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ALHAJI ISA NOEKOER v. EXECUTIVE GOVERNOR OF PLATEAU STATE & ORS

(2018) LPELR-44350(SC)

In The Supreme Court of Nigeria

On Friday, the 20th day of April, 2018

SC.562/2015


Before Their Lordships

OLABODE RHODES-VIVOUR Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

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

JOHN INYANG OKORO 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

ALHAJI ISA NOEKOER - Appellant(s)

AND

1. EXECUTIVE GOVERNOR OF PLATEAU STATE
2. ATTORNEY-GENERAL & COMMISSIONER FOR JUSTICE, PLATEAU STATE
3. MINISTRY FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND CHIEFTANCY AFFAIRS, PLATEAU STATE
4. MR. IGNATIUS MIAPHEN, SECRETARY, QUA'AN PAN LOCAL GOVERNMENT COUNCIL
5. QUA'AN PAN LOCAL GOVERNMENT COUNCIL
6. EMMANUEL DANIANG - Respondent(s)


Other Citations

; ;


Summary

INTRODUCTION:
This appeal borders on civil procedure.

FACTS:
This is an appeal against the judgment of Jos division of the Court of Appeal which on 9th December, 2014 dismissed the appeal of the appellant challenging the judgment of the High Court of Plateau State sitting in Jos delivered on 20th May, 2013.

The Kwalla District of Qua'an Pan local government of Plateau State, as at the time material to this case, had six villages each having a village head as its traditional head/leader. Each of the six village heads was by law eligible to contest the stool of the district head of Kwalla district in the event of having a vacancy of the stool. On the 16th of May, 2001, the appellant, who was the village Head of Shangfu, contested for the stool of District Head of Kwalla following a vacancy of that stool along with one Michael Lapang who was the village head of Chun village. The appellant was declared winner having scored 3 votes as against the 2 votes scored by the said Michael Lapang and was accordingly declared winner. Dissatisfied with the outcome of the selection/election exercise, Michael Lapang took out a Writ of Summons and filed an amended statement of claim against the defendant, now appellant who was 6th Defendant and the 1st-5th respondents who were the 1st-5th defendants in the said suit before the High Court of Plateau State.

At the end of the trial, the learned trial judge entered judgment in favour of Michael Lapang. Dissatisfied with the judgment, the appellant together with 1st-5th respondents filed an appeal against the said judgment, Mr. Lapang also filed a cross appeal. Before the appeal and the cross appeal could be heard, Michael Lapang died and consequently, the appellant's counsel withdrew the appeal and both the appeal and the cross appeal were subsequently struck out. After the withdrawal and subsequent striking out of the appeal and cross appeal, the 1st-5th respondents got prepared to take steps to comply with the order of the trial High Court to conduct fresh election to the stool of Kwalla District Head. Thereupon, the 6th respondent petitioned against the continued stay of the appellant in office as District Head of Kwalla in spite of the subsisting judgment of the trial High Court which has described the selection of the appellant as contrary to native law and custom and the gazette regularising the selection and appointment of person to fill the vacant stool of Kwalla District head.

Before the 1st-5th respondents could conclude the preparations to conduct fresh election, the appellant took out an Originating Summons against all the present respondents raising four questions for determination. At the end of the trial, judgment was entered against the appellant. Dissatisfied with the judgment of the trial High Court, the appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal where judgment was also entered against the appellant. Hence a further appeal to the Supreme Court.

ISSUES:
In the appellant's brief, two issues were identified for the determination of this appeal which read as below:-
"1. Whether the learned justices of the Court of Appeal were right to have found that the judgment of the Plateau State High Court in a Chieftaincy matter in suit No.PLD/S.5?2001 is a judgment in rem which survived the death of Michael Lapang in whose favour judgment was given and who died during the pendency of the appeal against the said judgment of the Court of Appeal in Appeal No.CA/J/192/2006 and that the 1st to 5th Respondents can enforce the said judgment to suspend the Appellant for purposes of conducting fresh selection into the stool of District Head of Kwalla (Ground no.3); and
2. Whether going by the three final reliefs granted by the trial judge in his judgment in Suit No.PLD/S.5/2007, the selection of the Appellant as the District Head of Kwalla on the 16th May 2001 was nullified or declared to have been nullified as held by the learned Justices of the Court Appeal (Grounds Nos.1 and 2)."
DECISION/HELD:
In the conclusion, both issues were resolved against the appellant. The Court found the appeal to be lacking in substance and it was accordingly dismissed.


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