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WHEN TO FILE A MOTION ON NOTICE VS PRELIMINARY OBJECTION

Dictum

In law therefore, it is only when a Respondent is challenging the one or more grounds of appeal but not the entire appeal that resort must be had to motion by notice to strike out the incompetent ground(s) of appeal. However, where it is the competence of the entire appeal that is being challenged the proper method is by means of a notice of preliminary objection as rightly employed by the Respondent in this appeal. The Respondent’s notice of preliminary objection was filed on 23/2/2017, that way beyond the three clear days requirement of the rules of this Court, was served and duly responded to by the Appellant in their Appellants’ Reply brief and therefore, the contention by the Appellants’ counsel in this regards is misconceived and hereby discountenanced. I shall say no more! See Clement Odunukwe v. Dennis Ofomata(2010) 18 NWLR (Pt. 1225) 404 per Rhodes-Vivour, JSC. See also Ndigwe v. Nwude (1999) 11 NWLR (Pt. 626) 314; NEPA v. Ango (2001) 15 NWLR (Pt. 737) 627; Muhammed v. Military Administrator of Plateau State (2001) 16 NWLR (Pt. 740) 524; NDIC v. Oranu (2001) 18 NWLR (Pt. 744) 183.

— B.A. Georgewill, JCA. University of Lagos v. Mbaso (2018) – CA/L/775/2016

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PRELIMINARY OBJECTION IN RESPONDENT’S BRIEF

These days, preliminary objections are argued in the respondent’s brief thereby obviating the need to file a separate Notice of Preliminary Objection, and to save time. Absence of the required Notice makes the Preliminary objection incompetent. – Rhodes-Vivour JSC. Nwaolisah v. Nwabufoh (2011)

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PRELIMINARY OBJECTION TAKEN FIRST

By its nature and necessary implications, the preliminary objection has to be taken first.

– Denton West JCA. Salaja v. Salaja (2013)

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COURT IS OBLIGED TO CONSIDER PRELIMINARY OBJECTIONS AS FAILURE AMOUNTS TO DENIAL OF FAIR HEARING

It is glaring that the Tribunal lumped several preliminary objections together, without considering each of them and the issues raised in each, dismissed them. The exact text of its decision reads thusly – “the several preliminary objections to the competence of the 1st petitioner as a candidate in the election and the jurisdiction of this Tribunal to determine the said petition are hereby dismissed.” This amounts to sweeping aside the objections without hearing or determining them. The dismissal of the objections did not proceed from the determination of any of the objections. It violates the fair trial of the objections and the entire petition and the right of the parties to fair hearing. This feature renders Tribunal’s judgment a nullity.

— E.A. Agim, JSC. Oyetola v INEC & Ors. (2022) – SC/CV/508/2023

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WHERE NO AFFIDAVIT SUPPORTS PRELIMINARY OBJECTION

The defendant in filing its preliminary objection did not file any affidavit in support, which effectively made its preliminary objection one of law.

— B.B. Kanyip J. FG v. ASUU (2023) – NICN/ABJ/270/2022

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IF PRELIMINARY OBJECTION IS UPHELD FURTHER PROCEEDINGS IS UNNECESSARY

A preliminary objection to the competence of an appeal, is an objection, if upheld, renders further proceedings before the Court or tribunal unnecessary. Therefore, when it is raised, it must be resolved before venturing into the appeal.

— P.A. Galumje, JSC. Compact Manifold v Pazan Ltd. (2019) – SC.361/2017

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INCLUDING NOTICE OF PRELIMINARY OBJECTION IN BRIEF

‘Thus, a respondent who has any application to make in respect of a pending appeal, can without the leave of this court, raise the objection in a Respondents’ notice in his brief of argument, and proffer argument in support of the objection, in his brief of argument, without necessarily filing a Notice of Preliminary objection, formally. The essence of indicating in the respondents’ brief of argument, a notice of Preliminary objection is to enable the appellant to respond to it in a Reply brief of argument, upon the service of the respondents’ brief of argument on the appellant. The supreme court in Charles Chikwendu Odedo v. Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) (2008) 7 SCNJ 1 at pg.25, provided a guide as to how a preliminary objection can be raised in a brief of argument. It is to be raised under a conspicuous title or heading of “PRELIMINARY OBJECTION” followed by the grounds of the objection and supported with the argument thereon. Further see. Chief Emmanuel Osita Okereke v. Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and Ors (2008) 5 SCNJ 1; Ralph Uwazurike v. Attorney General of the Federation (2007) 2 SCNJ 369 at P.380; Ajide v. Kelani (1985) 3 NWLR (Pt. 12) 248. I have perused the Respondents’ briefs of argument dated 14th March, 2011 and at page 3: paragraph 3.00, the NOTICE OF PRELIMINARY OBJECTION was conspicuously given therein; the grounds for the objection were also stated and thereafter the arguments on the preliminary objection were proffered by learned to the respondents. I am therefore satisfied that the notice of preliminary objection, by the respondents, is competent and I shall proceed to consider and determine it.’

— T.S. YAKUBU, JCA. Fayose v ICN (2012) – CA/AE/58/2010

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