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REGISTERED TRUSTEES OF AUTO SPARE PARTS AND MACHINERY DEALERS ASSOCIATION & ANOR v. MR. OBOJIOFOR OBINNA JOHN & ORS

(2020) LPELR-49541(CA)

In The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

On Wednesday, the 18th day of March, 2020

CA/L/1513/2018


Before Their Lordships

MOHAMMED LAWAL GARBA Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

UGOCHUKWU ANTHONY OGAKWU Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

JAMILU YAMMAMA TUKUR Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria


Between

1. REGISTERED TRUSTEES OF AUTO SPARE PARTS AND MACHINERY DEALERS ASSOCIATION
2. MR. DANIEL OFORKANSI - Appellant(s)

AND

1. MR. OBOJIOFOR OBINNA JOHN
2. MR. JAMES C. ONWUGAMBA
3. MR. PHILIP N. EZEABASILI
4. MR. NWADIMKA NATHANIEL - Respondent(s)


Other Citations

; ;


Summary

INTRODUCTION:
This appeal borders on civil procedure.

FACTS:
This is an appeal against the decision of the High Court of Lagos State, which was delivered by Ogunjobi, J.

The contest bordered on tenure of office and alleged elongation of tenure, with respect to the Executive Officers of the Auto Spare Parts and Machinery Dealers Association (ASPMDA). It was the case of the Respondents that the ASPMDA Constitution, under which the Executive Officers were elected, stipulated a tenure of two years, but that the Executive Officers were seeking to elongate their tenure by claiming the four year tenure provided in the Amended Constitution, which was adopted after they were elected.
On the contrary, Appellants contended that the Executive Officers took their oath of office under the Amended Constitution and that the tenure was for the four years provided thereunder.
The Respondents commenced an action by Originating Summons, and claimed as follows:
"(i) AN ORDER directing the 2nd Defendant and other members of the executive committee to vacate their respective offices at the expiration of their tenure of office on 7th, August 2018.
(ii) AN ORDER of perpetual injunction restraining the 2nd Defendant from further contesting for the position of the executive chairman of ASPMDA having successfully contested and won two terms in office, the maximum terms stipulated in the old 1986 Constitution of ASPMDA.
(iii) AN ORDER directing the 2nd Defendant led executive committee members or the interim government of ASPMDA, as the case may be, to conduct a fresh election for the positions on the executive committee specified under the new 2016 ASMDA Constitution.
(iv) The Cost of this action."

The Appellants filed a preliminary objection challenging the jurisdiction of the Court to entertain the action, based on the grounds of lack of locus standi of the respondent, non-compliance with requirement of pre-action notice, non-suitability of originating summons as the originating process in the matter.
The preliminary objection and the Originating Summons were heard together, and in its judgment , the trial Court dismissed the preliminary objection and entered judgment for the Respondents on their Originating Summons. Appellants appealed to the Court of Appeal.

ISSUES:
Appellants submitted the following issues for determination:
"1. Whether in the light of Article 21(A) of the ASPMDA Constitution (as amended in 2016), the trial Court possessed the requisite jurisdiction to entertain the suit ab initio?
2. Whether the lower Court was right when it held that, in spite of the pendency of Suit No: LD/5010GCMW/2018, the instant suit was not an abuse of Court process?
3. Whether the Learned Trial Judge was right in placing sole and heavy reliance on the conditions stated in B.B Apugo & Sons v. OHMB (2016) LPELR 40598 (SC) in holding that the Respondents possess the requisite standing to institute the action, even in the face of the positive facts placed before it suggesting otherwise?
4. Whether the dust raised as to the time the Amended Constitution became operative viz-a-viz [sic] the tenure of the members of the Executive Council as well as the dispute as to membership of the association duly raised are not sufficient hostile facts to warrant calling of evidence?
5. Whether it can be said that the lower court adequately considered all the issues raised for determination before it by the Appellants in its decision?"
DECISION/HELD:
The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal.


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