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THE MERE REGISTRATION OF A DOCUMENT DOES NOT IPSO FACTO GIVES POWER TO IT

Dictum

Thus, mere possession of a Power of Attorney does not tantamount to valid title to the land. I am not discounting the fact that the said Exhibit P1 was registered as No. 3 on Page 3 in Volume 221 of the Lands Registry in Awka. However, the registration of a document does not confer any legitimacy or validity to it if it had no power to convey anything ab initio. See Akpene v. Barclays Bank (1977) NSCC (Vol. II) 29 at 36; Rockonoh Property v. Nitel (2001) 7 SCNJ 225 at 248-250.

— H.M. Ogunwumiju JCA. Osakwe V. Nwokedi & Anor. (CA/E/168/2014, 13 July 2018)

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READING TWO DOCUMENTS TOGETHER

In Burgess v. Cox (1951) Ch. 383 Harman, J., (as he then was), found that he could read two documents together to remedy the deficiency of the defendant’s signature lacking in the first document relied on as being a memorandum when it was obvious that if the two documents were placed side by side, they referred to the same transaction.

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DOCUMENTS ARE ALLOWED TO SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES

In my view this is the best starting point because words in a document are allowed to speak for themselves and unless a statement will lead to ambiguity or absurdity words are to be interpreted and understood based on their ordinary grammatical con or meaning.

– A.A.B. Gumel, JCA. Alechenu v. AG Benue (2011) – CA/J/220/2002

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PARTY MUST ENDEAVOUR TO LINK DOCUMENTS TO SPECIFIC PLEADING TO AVOID DUMPING DOCUMENTS

Surprisingly the documents were dumped on the Court without any witness linking them up documents with the specific complaints of non compliance. It is settled law that despite the tendering of exhibits in proof of a Petition/case, the onus of proving the case pleaded and for which the documents were tendered in evidence, lies on the Petitioner. In the instant Petition, a lot of documents were tendered from the Bar. When a party decides to rely on documents to prove his case, there must be a link between the documents and the specific areas of the Petition. The party must relate each document to the specific areas of his case for which the documents were tendered. Failure to link the documents is fatal and catastrophic as it is in this case. The Supreme Court in the recent case of TUMBIDO V. INEC & ORS. (2023) LPELR-60004 (SC) held Per Jauro, JSC (at P.43, Paras C-F) as follows: “The practice of dumping documents on the Court without speaking to them has been deprecated by this Court on numerous occasions. No Court is entitled to conduct inquisitorial investigations into the contents of a document or purport thereof in its chambers. The Appellant ought to have called a witness to speak to the photographs and video recording before the Court. See MAKINDE V. ADEKOLA (2022) 9 NWLR (PT. 1834) 13; MAKU V. AL-MAKURA (2016) 5 NWLR (PT. 1505) 201; A.C.N. V. NYAKO (2015) 18 NWLR (PT. 1491) 352.”

— H.S. Tsammani, JCA. Atiku v PDP (CA/PEPC/05/2023, 6th of September, 2023)

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OBJECTION TO SPECIFIED DOCUMENT

An objection to one specified document cannot be taken as an objection to another document bearing a totally different date. – Obaseki, JSC. Obiora v. Osele (1989) – SC.70/1987

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DOCUMENTS MADE WHILE ELECTION IS PENDING – SECTION 83(3) EA; ALSO EXCEPTION

In resolving this issue, it is necessary to have recourse to section 83(3) of the Evidence Act, 2011, provides thus: “Nothing in this section shall render admissible as evidence any statement made by a person interested at a time when proceedings were pending or anticipated involving a dispute as to any fact which the statement might tend to establish” The import of this section, is that before a document could be rejected as inadmissible, it must not only be made when litigation was pending or anticipated, but the person making it must be interested. It is not in dispute, from the dictates of the letters and their annexure updated membership lists, that exhibits P163 and P163(a) were made and dated the 28 th day of April, 2023 and June 9, 2023 and were submitted and received by the 1 st Respondent on the 3 rd day of May, 2023 and 6 th of July 2023 respectively. Both Exhibits P163(b) and 2R20(x), (which as said by this tribunal are the same, as one is an extract of the other), are not dated nor signed. The position of the law generally speaking, in relation to documents prepared in anticipation of impending litigation, is that such documents are not admissible in evidence, although there are exceptions to this general rule. See the cases of ANISU VS OSAYOMI (2008) 15 NWLR (PT. 110) PAGE 246 AT 275, ABDULLAHI VS HASHIDU (1999) 4 NWLR (PT. 600) 638 AT 645, ANYANWU VS UZOWUAKA (2009) 13 NWLR (PT. 1159) 445 AT 476. The exception to this general rule, excludes documents made in anticipation of litigation, by a person who is not personally interested in the outcome of the litigation. The operative words, as far as the exceptions are concerned, are “persons not personally interested in the outcome of the litigation”. In other words, it relates only to a situation, where such a person relying on such documents, has no personal interest in the matter, as against mere interest in an official capacity. In the instant case, the exceptions do not apply here. This is because the maker of exhibit P163, P163(a) and exhibit 2R20X is the 3rd Respondent, who is a party in this Election petition and clearly has exhibited her interest in the ultimate result of the proceedings for the simple reason that the temptation to protect her interest is clearly overwhelming. See the following cases: ALIYU VS ADEWUYI (1996) 4 NWLR (PT. 442) 284, GBADAMOSI VS KANO TRAVELS LTD (2000) 8 NWLR (PT. 608) 243, GAMJI NIG. COMP. LTD VS NIG. AGIP OIL. COMP. LTD (2018) LPELR- 49215 (CA).

— A. Osadebay, J. APC v INEC & Ors. (EPT/KN/GOV/01/2023, 20th Day of September, 2023)

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