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STATING ADDRESS FOR SERVICE IN AN ELECTION PETITION

Dictum

Paragraph 4 (4) of the First Schedule to the Electoral Act, 2022 provides as follows: “Paragraph 4 (4); “at the foot of the election petition, there shall also be stated an address of the petitioner for service at which address documents intended for the petitioner may be left and its occupier. We have carefully gone through the petition filed by the Petitioner and we hold that the Petitioner complied with the provision of paragraph 4(4) of the First Schedule to the Electoral Act 2022. This is because the Petitioner copiously stated at the foot of the election petition, his address for service, at which address documents or all Court processes relating to this petition may be served on the Petitioner and the Petitioner equally indicated who the occupier of that address is.

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

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FAILURE TO JOIN A PARTICULAR PARTY WILL NOT WARRANT STRIKING OUT OF ENTIRE PETITION

The other argument of note of 2nd Respondent in this application is the one of failure of petitioners to join Friday Adejoh and Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State and its effect on the petition. We have already struck out the relevant paragraphs of the petition where allegations of malpractice were made against the two...

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WHOEVER ALLEGATION IS MADE AGAINST SHOULD BE JOINED IN AN ELECTION PETITION, NOT JUST THE CONTESTANTS

I am however of the opinion that the second complaint of 1st respondent against paragraph 129 of the petition, that it also deserves to be struck out for petitioners’ failure to join Hon. Adejoh, Chairman of Olamaboro L.G.A. of Kogi State accused by them of having led thugs at gun point to force Electoral officers...

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VOTERS REGISTER CANNOT BE REPLACED BY CARD READER TO PROVE OVERVOTING

This court in a number of recent decisions has commended the introduction of the card reader in the 2015 elections by INEC. The court has noted however, that its function is solely to authenticate the owner of a voter’s card and to prevent multi-voting by a voter and cannot replace the voters register or statement...

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REGISTER OF VOTERS IS REQUIRED TO PROVE NO ACCREDITATION OF VOTERS

It is clear from the provisions of S.47(1) and (2) of the Electoral Act 2022 and Regulations 14(a) and (b), 18(a) and (b), 19(b) and (e) that the Register of voters for each polling unit is relevant evidence to prove the alleged non accreditations of voters in the 744 polling units on the election day....

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

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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RIGHT OF APPEAL AGAINST INTERLOCUTORY DECISION IN AN ELECTION TRIBUNAL

In the case of Maduako V Onyejiocha (2009) 5 NWLR (pt. 1134) 259 at 280 the Court of Appeal Per Eko JCA held as follows:- “By way of emphasis, I wish to add that the decision of the Supreme Court in Alhaji Atiku Abubakar & Ors V. Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua & Ors SC 288/2007 of 25th January, 2008 (reported in (2008) 4 NWLR (pt. 1078) 465 Per Niki Tobi JSC, leave no doubt in me that an aggrieved party has right of appeal against an interlocutory decision of an election tribunal. That right is a constitutional right by dint of Section 246 (1) (b) of the 1999 Constitution, which is in Pari materia with Section 233 (2) (3) of the Constitution under which Atiku V. Yar’Adua case was decided”.

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