LawPavilion Online


Back

OLUWAROTIMI ODUNAYO AKEREDOLU v. DR OLUSEGUN MICHAEL ABRAHAM & ORS

(2018) LPELR-44067(SC)

In The Supreme Court of Nigeria

On Friday, the 23rd day of March, 2018

SC.698/2017


Before Their Lordships

IBRAHIM TANKO MUHAMMAD Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

OLUKAYODE ARIWOOLA Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

KUMAI BAYANG AKA'AHS Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

JOHN INYANG OKORO Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

PAUL ADAMU GALINJE Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria


Between

OLUWAROTIMI ODUNAYO AKEREDOLU - Appellant(s)

AND

1. DR. OLUSEGUN MICHAEL ABRAHAM
2. ALL PROGRESSIVES CONGRESS (APC)
3. CHIEF JOHN ODIGIE OYEGUN
4. INDEPENDENT NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION (INEC) - Respondent(s)


Other Citations

; ;


Summary

INTRODUCTION:
This appeal borders on Civil Procedure.

FACTS:
This is an appeal against the judgment of the Court of Appeal Abuja Division, dismissing the appeal of the Appellant against the ruling of the Federal High Court, Abuja.

Appellant had emerged the winner of the primary election of the 2nd Respondent, conducted on the 3rd day of September, 2016 in Ondo State to elect the candidate of the 2nd Respondent for the election to the office of Governor of Ondo State slated for the 26th of November, 2016. ???Dissatisfied with the outcome of the primary election, the 1st Respondent, by way of an Originating Summons and its accompanying processes, challenged the validity of the said Ondo State Governorship Primary Election of the 2nd Respondent, and sought the following reliefs:
1. A DECLARATION that the purported Delegates' List dated 1/9/2016 with which the 1st Defendant's purported governorship primary election was conducted on 3/9/2016 is illegal, unlawful and violates the 1st Defendant's Constitution 2014 as amended same being fundamentally at variance with the lawful congress and congress Appeal Committee's Delegates' List of 2014.

2. A DECLARATION that the purported Ondo State governorship primary election held on the 3/9/2016 which also purportedly produced the 2nd Defendant as the purported Governorship candidate of the 1st Defendant in the Ondo State Governorship Election slated for 26/11/2016 and the acceptance of same by the 4th Defendant constitute a gross violation of Section 87 (1), (4)(b) and (7) of the Electoral Act 2010 as Amended and is therefore unlawful, null and void and of no effect.

3. A DECLARATION that the action of the 3rd Defendant in unilaterally submitting the name of the 2nd Defendant without the approval of the National Working Committee, National Executive Committee and Board of Trustees of the 1st Defendant and despite the report of the Election Appeal Committee recommending the outright cancellation of the governorship primaries is ultra vires the 3rd Defendant.
4. A DECLARATION that the purported governorship primary election in Ondo State held on the 3/9/2016 is in clear violation of sundry provisions of the APC Electoral Guidelines for Governorship primary Election 2014 and provisions of the Constitution of All Progressives Congress, 2014 as Amended and therefore invalid, null, void of no effect and incapable of producing the 2nd defendant as the governorship candidate.

5. AN ORDER setting aside the Ondo State Governorship Primary Election of the 1st Defendant held on the 3rd of September, 2016 for non-compliance with provisions of the APC Elections Guidelines 2014 as Amended for Primary Elections, and Electoral Act 2010 as Amended, APC Constitution 2014 as Amended;

6. AN ORDER setting aside the purported submission by the 3rd defendant and acceptance of the 2nd defendant's name by the 4th Defendant as the governorship candidate of the AII Progressives congress of Ondo State;

7. AN ORDER compelling the 4th Defendant to extend time within which the 1st Defendant shall conduct fresh Governorship Primary Election of the 1st Defendant based on the congress and Congress Appeal Committee's Delegates' List, 2014 and in compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 as Amended, the Constitution of All Progressive Congress 2014 as Amended, APC Electoral Guidelines, 2014 and the Constitution of the Federal republic of Nigeria, 1999 as Amended;
8. AND FOR SUCH ORDERS OR OTHER ORDERS as this Honourable Court may deem fit to make in the circumstance.

The 1st Respondent filed a Motion Exparte seeking the leave of the Trial Court to serve the Originating processes and other processes filed in the suit on the Appellant and 3rd Respondent, by substituted means through the National Secretariat of the 2nd Respondent, i.e. the All Progressives Congress, at 40 Blantyre Street, Wuse 11, Abuja, FCT. 
By an Order of the Trial Court made on the 17th of October 2016, the Exparte application was granted. Consequent upon the order for substituted service made by the Trial Court, and the service of the processes on the Appellant and the 3rd Respondent via substituted means, the Appellant entered a conditional appearance and on the 1st of November 2016, he filed a Motion on Notice seeking for an Order:
1. Setting aside the purported service of the applicant (sic) the originating summons the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction, motion on notice for abridgment of time filed in this suit by the plaintiff/respondent, and all other motions and orders that may be served on the applicant.
2. Setting aside the Order for substituted service made by the Court on the 17th October, 2016.

3. Such other orders.

The application was filed on the following grounds, inter alia::

"(i) The purported service an 18th October, 2016 of the Originating Summons, the motion on notice for the interlocutory injunction and motion on notice for abridgment of time filed in this suit by the plaintiff/respondent on the 2nd defendant/applicant at No. 40 Blantyre Street, Wuse 11, Abuja is invalid, ineffectual and null and void.

(ii) The 2nd defendant is ordinarily resident in Owo, Ondo State, outside the jurisdiction of this Court.

(iii) The Court has no jurisdiction to order substituted service within its area of jurisdiction in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja on the 2nd defendant who is resident in Owo, Ondo State and could not have been personally served with the originating process in this suit at the time it was filed in this Court on 7th October, 2016 because he was not within jurisdiction."

The Appellant's motion on notice was heard by the Trial Court and on the 16th December, 2016, the Trial Court dismissed the application for lack of merit. Dissatisfied with the stance of the learned trial Judge, the appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal, which dismissed the appeal. Further dissatisfied, the appellant appealed to the Supreme Court.

ISSUES:
The following issues for determination were resolved in the appeal:
"1. Whether the lower Court properly resolved the issue raised by the Appellant to the effect that the trial Court raised suo motu and decided the issue that the appellant carried on substantial part of his business within the jurisdiction of the Court and that the trial Court therefore had personal jurisdiction over him.
2. Whether the lower Court was right in holding that the denial of the appellant of a hearing on the issue raised suo motu and decided by the trial Court was not shown to have occasioned a miscarriage of justice.
3. Whether the lower Court was right in holding that the case of Kida v Ogunmola (2006) 13 NWLR (pt 997) 377 was distinguishable from this case and that the trial Court had jurisdiction to hear and determine this suit.
4. Whether the lower Court was right in the interpretation it gave to Order 6 Rule 5(b) of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 2009 which led to the failure of the lower Court to set aside the order of the trial Court for substituted service and the service based on same."

DECISION/HELD:
In conclusion, the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal.


Read Full Judgment