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FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH MANDATORY PROVISION OF THE ELECTORAL DECREE WILL WARRANT A STRIKE OUT

Dictum

The case of Chatjok v. Kato and others is relevant. The appellant was the petitioner at the Election Tribunal. In his petition, the petitioner claimed that the 1st and 2nd respondents were not qualified to contest the chairmanship election of Kachia Local Government council, Kaduna State in that the 1st respondent was still a public servant in the employment of Kaduna state Ministry of Works and Transport while the 2nd respondent was an ex-convict. The 2nd respondent was alleged by the appellant to have been convicted of the offence of house-breaking by Area Court I Zonkwua. During the hearing of the petition, a preliminary objection on point of law was raised on behalf of the 1st and 2nd respondents that the appellant’s petition did not comply with the requirements of paragraph 5(1) (c) of schedule 5 to Local Government (Basic constitutional and Transitional provisions) Decree No.36 of 1998 and as such the petition was defective and a nullity. Learned counsel to the appellant conceded to the objection and urged the tribunal to exercise its discretion and strike out the petition without costs. The petition was therefore struck out under the provision of paragraph 5(6) of schedule 5 to the Decree. The Court of Appeal held that where an election petition does not state the scores of the candidates as required under paragraph 5(1) (C) of Decree No.36 of 1998, the Election Tribunal has the discretion to strike out the petition. This is more so when the petitioner cannot amend the petition.

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