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UTAAN TERHIDE CONRAD & ANOR v. BENJAMIN MZONDU BEM & ORS

(2019) LPELR-48786(CA)

In The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

On Friday, the 1st day of November, 2019

CA/MK/EP/HR/36/2019


Before Their Lordships

JUMMAI HANNATU SANKEY Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

ONYEKACHI AJA OTISI Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

JOSEPH EYO EKANEM Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria


Between

1.UTAAN TERHIDE CONRAD
2.ALL PROGRESSIVES CONGRESS (APC) - Appellant(s)

AND

1.BENJAMIN MZONDU BEM
2.PEOPLES DEMOCRATIC PARTY (PDP)
3.INDEPENDENT NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION (INEC) - Respondent(s)


Other Citations

; ;


Summary

INTRODUCTION:
This appeal borders on Election Petition.

FACTS:
This appeal is against the judgment of the National and State Houses of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal, Makurdi, delivered on 1/9/2019 in Petition No. EPT/BN/R/11/2019.

???On 23/9/2019, the 3rd respondent conducted elections throughout Nigeria for seats in the House of Representatives. In Benue State, the 1st appellant sponsored by the 2nd appellant contested the election against 9 other candidates who were sponsored by their respective political parties. The 1st respondent contested the election on the platform of the 2nd respondent. At the end of the election, the 3rd respondent returned the 1st respondent as the winner, he having polled a total of 50, 454 votes as against the 1st appellant who was the runner - up with 37, 743 votes.

Aggrieved by the return, the appellants filed a petition at the Tribunal questioning the same.

After pre - hearing session, the petition proceeded to trial. The appellants called 28 witnesses and tendered many exhibits. The 1st respondent called 7 witnesses and also tendered exhibits. The 2nd respondent called two witnesses. The 3rd respondent did not call any witness. After taking final addresses, the Tribunal, as earlier stated, dismissed the petition.

Aggrieved by the decision, the Appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal.

ISSUES:
The Court determined the appeal on these issues couched as follows:
1. Whether the Trial Tribunal was right when, without hearing parties, suo motu raised and resolved an issue, and came to a conclusion on PW 11, thereby failing to attach probative value to Exhibit PTE 3.
2. Whether the trial Tribunal was right in striking out ground one of the Petition and all paragraphs in support of the said ground.
3. Whether the Trial Tribunal was right when it discountenanced the Provisions of the Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections 2019.
4. Whether the trial Tribunal was right when it refused to grants the Reliefs sought by the Appellants and proceeded to dismiss the Appellants' petition as unproved.
5. Whether the trial Tribunal was right when it held that the evidence of PW28 was given based on hearsay, thereby refusing to attach probative value to the said evidence.
6. Whether the trial Tribunal was right when it delivered its Ruling on an argued application, entertained an application to set aside its Ruling, and without sufficient reason, set aside its decision.

DECISION/HELD:
On the whole, the Court found no merit in the appeal and accordingly dismissed same.


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