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

Dictum

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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APPEAL ON WRONGFUL ADMISSION OF EVIDENCE

If the error of law is the wrongful admission of evidence, the appellant must show that, without the admission of the evidence, the decision would have been otherwise. – Adio, JSC. UBN v. Ozigi (1994) Was this dictum helpful? Yes 0 No 0...

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A DOCUMENT MARKED REJECTED STAYS REJECTED FOR THE PURPOSE OF THE TRIAL

The well laid down procedure for omitting documents in evidence is for the trial judge to hear arguments for and against the admissibility of the document, then render a Ruling. If the ruling is favourable to the document being admitted in evidence the document is admitted in evidence and marked as an exhibit. If on...

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IT IS THE EVIDENCE ACT THAT DETERMINES ADMISSIBILITY

It has to be pointed out here that what determines admissibility or otherwise of a particular piece of evidence or document is the Evidence Act and not the common law. See also R. v. Agwuna (1949) 12 WACA 456 at 458. — S. Galadima, JCA. Jadesimi & Anor. v. Egbe (2003) Was this dictum helpful?...

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DOCUMENT BEING ALLEGED MUST BE PROVED

While oral agreement has the legal capacity to re-order or change the contents of an earlier written agreement, to satisfy the basic requirements of an agreement, the party alleging such agreement must prove it. See sections 135, 136 and 139 of the Evidence Act. – Tobi JSC. Odutola v. Papersack (2007) Was this dictum helpful?...

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IN DETERMINING ADMISSIBILITY, IT IS RELEVANCY THAT MATTERS NOT CUSTODY

Admissibility is a rule of evidence and it is based on relevancy. See Sadau v. The State (1968) 1 All NLR 124: Ogonzee v. State (1997) 8 NWLR (Pt. 518) 566. In determining the admissibility of evidence, the court will not consider how it was obtained; rather the court will take into consideration whether what...

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CONTENT OF DOCUMENT BINDING ON PARTIES

It is an established principle of law, that the contents of a document are binding on the party who being of full capacity appends his signature to it. He cannot thereafter resile from it or choose an alternative course. – Augie JSC. Bank v. TEE (2003) Was this dictum helpful? Yes 0 No 0...

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