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CANDIDATE MUST BE SPONSORED BY HIS POLITICAL PARTY

Dictum

It is trite that for a person to qualify as a candidate for a general election, he must not only be a member of a political party but he must have been sponsored for the election by his political party. See the cases of Gwede v. INEC & Ors. (2014) LPELR-23763 (SC); and Al-Hassan & Anor v. Ishaku & Ors. (2016) LPELR-40083.

— M.A.A. Adumein JCA. Yusuf Kabir v. APC, INEC, NNPP (CA/KN/EP/GOV/KAN/34/2023, 17TH DAY OF NOVEMBER 2023)

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IT IS POLITICAL PARTIES THAT WIN OR LOSE ELECTION, NOT CANDIDATES

It is the political party that participated in the conduct of an election that is the winner or the loser and not the Candidates sponsored by the political parties sometimes, the goodwill of a candidate being sponsored in an election may contribute to the victory of the political party in an election. Section 221 of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria does not recognize an Independent candidate contesting in our elections.

– Coomassie JSC. Odedo v. INEC (2008)

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WHEN DOES A WITHDRAWAL TAKE EFFECT – WHEN LETTER IS DELIVERED TO THE POLITICAL PARTY, NOT INEC

It is glaring from the express wordings of Section 31 of the Electoral Act 2022 that the legislative intention is that the withdrawal should take effect upon the nominated candidate personally delivering a written notice of his withdrawal to the political party and not when the political party conveys it to INEC. Section 31 states that what the party conveys to INEC is the withdrawal. The provision gives the party not later than 90 days to the election to convey the withdrawal of its candidate to INEC. Since the election held on 25-2-2022, the political party had up to 24-11-22 to convey the 4th Respondent’s withdrawal to INEC. So, it matters not if it was conveyed in 10-7-2022, 15-7-2022 or any other date, provided it is conveyed not later than 90 days to the election. The date of the conveyance within the prescribed period has no effect on the withdrawal that had already been done. Therefore, the 4th respondent withdrew as the 2nd respondent’s Senatorial candidate for Borno Central Senatorial District on 6-7-2022 when his written letter of withdrawal dated 6-7-2022 was received by his party on 6-7-2022.

— H.S. Tsammani, JCA. APM v INEC & Ors. (2023) – CA/PEPC/04/2023

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WHEN CAN IT BE SAID THAT A POLITICAL PARTY IS SPONSORING A CANDIDATE

I have pondered over the submissions of counsel for appellants on this sub-issue and have not clearly seen the connection between publications of the names of candidate by 3rd respondent and qualification to contest any election to which the publication or non publication relates. I hold the view that publication of names of candidates by 3rd respondent is not evidence of sponsorship by a political party which nominated the candidates. Evidence of nomination and sponsorship of a candidate by a political party lies in the declaration of the winner of the party’s primary election conducted to elect the party’s candidate for the general election in question coupled with the political party forwarding the names of the said elected candidate to the 3rd respondent as its nominated candidate for the election see Section 31 of the Electoral Act, 2010, as amended, which enacts thus.

— Onnoghen, JSC. Kubor v. Dickson (2012) – SC.369/2012

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IT IS ONLY THE NATIONAL WORKING COMMITTEE OF A POLITICAL PARTY THAT IS SADDLED WITH CONDUCTING PRIMARY ELECTION

‘In the instant case, the Appellant herein clearly stated in the affidavit in support of his originating summons that he took part in the primary election held at St. Paul University, Awka in obedience to the judgment of Adeniyi J of the Federal Capital Territory High Court and that the said election was conducted by Sir Chukwudi Umeaba who authored and signed the alleged result of the primary election. He is said to be the leader of the State Executive of the 3rd Respondent. That Appellant emerged winner of that contraption he called party primary election. But from the authorities of this Court cited above, that assemblage at St. Paul University was nothing other than an illegal and an unlawful gathering of party delinquents. The outcome therefore was a sham and a farce. See Emenike v PDP (supra). Not having been conducted by the National Executive Committee 3rd Respondent, the primary election held at St. Paul University on 26th June, 2021 which the Appellant took part is unknown to law and is a nullity. The law is very clear that a State executive of a political party has no vires to conduct party primaries. It is only the National Executive Committee of the party that is recognized as the proper organ of the party saddled with the responsibility of conducting party primaries.’

‘Party primaries are conducted by the National Executive Committee of political parties. Definitely, not by the State executive of the party. The Appellant lacked the locus standi to incept the suit giving birth to this appeal. Counsel ought to advise their clients when requested to file such frivolous suits in Court.’

— J.I. Okoro, JSC. Uba v. Ozigbo, INEC, PDP (SC.CV/772/2021, October 21, 2021)

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A CANDIDATE OF A POLITICAL PARTY MUST NOT BE JOINED IN THE PETITION FILED BY THE POLITICAL PARTY

The 2nd Respondent/Applicant also contended that the Petition is not properly constituted as the candidate sponsored by the Petitioner has not been joined as a Co-Petitioner in the petition. The short answer to that is that, Section 133(1)(b) of the Electoral Act, 2022 entitles the Petitioner as a political party to institute an election petition. The Applicant has not referred us to any provision of the Electoral Act, or any authority that mandates the political party to file an election petition, only where its candidate has been joined as Co-Petitioner. It is true that, it is proper for the candidate of the party to be so joined but there is no law that compels the political party to join its candidate in the petition. Afterall, the purpose of such joinder is so that the candidate be bound by any judgment or order of the Court or Tribunal but any non-joinder will not invalidate the Petition. This is particularly so when Section 133(1) of the Electoral Act (supra) states that: “An election petition may be presented by one or more of the following persons – (a) a candidate in an election; or (b) a political party which participated in the election.” By the use of the disjunctive word “or”, it means that an Election Petition may be filed by the candidate alone, or the political party alone, or both of them. See Buhari & Anor v. Yusuf & Anor (2003) 14 NWLR (pt. 841) 446 and APC v. PDP & Ors (2015) LPELR – 24349 (CA). The objection on this ground is therefore discountenanced.

— H.S. Tsammani, JCA. APM v INEC & Ors. (2023) – CA/PEPC/04/2023

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A POLITICAL PARTY CANNOT CHALLENGE ACTIVITIES OF ANOTHER POLITICAL PARTY VIS-A-VIS INEC

No matter how pained or disgruntled a political party is with the way and manner another political is conducting or has conducted its affairs concerning its nomination of its candidates for any position, it must keep mum and remain an onlooker, for it lacks the locus standi to challenge such nomination in court. A political party equally lacks the locus standi to challenge the actions of INEC in relation to another political party. Section 285(14)(c) only allows a political party to challenge the decisions and activities of INEC disqualifying its own candidate from participating in an election, or to complain that the provisions of the Electoral Act or any other law have not been complied with in respect of the nomination of the party’s own candidates, timetable for an election, registration of voters and other activities of INEC in respect of preparation for an election. A political party is only vested with locus to file a pre election matter when the aforesaid situations affects it or its own candidates. When the actions of INEC relate to the activities of a political party, no court has the jurisdiction to entertain a suit brought by another political party in that regard.

— A. Jauro, JSC. PDP v INEC (2023) – SC/CV/501/2023

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