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IT IS NOT THE BUSINESS OF THE COURT TO NOMINATE PARTIES FOR ELECTION

Dictum

It is not the business of any Court to select or nominate candidates for any political party for election. The nomination of a candidate to contest an election is the sole responsibility of the political party concerned. The Courts do not have jurisdiction to decide who should be sponsored by a political party as a candidate in an election. See Onuoha v Okafor (1983) 2 SCNLR 244, Dalhatu v Turaki (2003) 15 NWLR (pt 843) 310, Shinkafi & Anor v Yari & Ors (2016) LPELR – 26050 (SC) page 57 paragraphs A – D, Olofu & Ors v Itodo & Anor (2010) 18 NWLR (pt 1225) 545. The above position has been the law and has not changed because issue of selection and/or nomination of a candidate for an election is strictly within the domestic jurisdiction or power of political parties.

— J.I. Okoro, JSC. Uba v. Ozigbo, INEC, PDP (SC.CV/772/2021, October 21, 2021)

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COURT MAY RELY ON AUTHORITIES NOT CITED BY PARTIES

T.M. Orugbo & Anor v. Bulana Una & Ors (2002) 9 SCNJ 12 at 32-33. This Court held that “A Court of law has no legal duty to confine itself only to authorities cited by the parties. It can, in an effort to improve its judgment, rely on authorities not cited by the parties. Historical books or whatever books are authorities and the Koko District Customary Court was free to make use of them in its judgment. That per se is not breach of fair hearing, not even the twin rules of natural justice. The Court is under no duty to give notice to the parties that it intends to use a particular book. That will be a ridiculous situation.”

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IT IS A POLITICAL PARTY OR ITS CANDIDATE WHO CAN CHALLENGE AN ELECTION

In the case of ALL PROGRESSIVE CONGRESS V PEOPLES DEMOCRATIC PARTY 2019 LPELR-49499 CA, in the interpretation of the provision of S137(1) of the Electoral Act 2010, which provision is in pari material with the extant provisions of S133 (1) (a) and (b) the Electoral Act 2022, the Court of Appeal, Per Ali Abubakar Babandi Gummel JCA, took the stance that: ‘….it is clear from this provision, that either the political party, or its candidate for the election, or both of them jointly can present an election petition….this provision recognizes that a political party, can in its name, present an election petition challenging the election for the benefit of the candidate and itself….’ Ditto, in the lead judgment delivered by per Emmanuel Akomaye Agim JCA, the court reiterated and expounded as follows; ‘….therefore such a petition is a representative action by the political party on behalf of its candidate for the election and its members, the political party’s candidate for the election is an unnamed party for his benefit and that of the political party. An unnamed party in a representative action is a party to the action…….”

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SENTIMENT HAS NO PLACE IN OUR COURTS

If I go by sentiments, having regard to the facts of this case leading to this appeal and as appear in the lead Judgment of my learned brother, Oguntade, J.S.C., I may be inclined to allow this appeal. But it is now firmly settled, that sentiments, have no place in our courts including this court. See the cases of Ezeugo v. Ohanyere (1978) 6-7 S.C. 171 @ 184; Omote & Sons Ltd. v. Adeyemo & 9 ors. (1994) 4 NWLR (Pt.336) 48 C.A. and Orhue v. NEPA (1998) 7 NWLR (Pt.557) 107; (1998) 5 SCNJ 126@ 141.

— Ogbuagu, JSC. Grosvenor v Halaloui (2009) – SC.373/2002

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WHEN CAN IT BE SAID THAT A POLITICAL PARTY IS SPONSORING A CANDIDATE

I have pondered over the submissions of counsel for appellants on this sub-issue and have not clearly seen the connection between publications of the names of candidate by 3rd respondent and qualification to contest any election to which the publication or non publication relates. I hold the view that publication of names of candidates by 3rd respondent is not evidence of sponsorship by a political party which nominated the candidates. Evidence of nomination and sponsorship of a candidate by a political party lies in the declaration of the winner of the party’s primary election conducted to elect the party’s candidate for the general election in question coupled with the political party forwarding the names of the said elected candidate to the 3rd respondent as its nominated candidate for the election see Section 31 of the Electoral Act, 2010, as amended, which enacts thus.

— Onnoghen, JSC. Kubor v. Dickson (2012) – SC.369/2012

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IT IS POLITICAL PARTIES THAT WIN OR LOSE ELECTION, NOT CANDIDATES

It is the political party that participated in the conduct of an election that is the winner or the loser and not the Candidates sponsored by the political parties sometimes, the goodwill of a candidate being sponsored in an election may contribute to the victory of the political party in an election. Section 221 of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria does not recognize an Independent candidate contesting in our elections.

– Coomassie JSC. Odedo v. INEC (2008)

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A CANDIDATE OF A POLITICAL PARTY MUST NOT BE JOINED IN THE PETITION FILED BY THE POLITICAL PARTY

The 2nd Respondent/Applicant also contended that the Petition is not properly constituted as the candidate sponsored by the Petitioner has not been joined as a Co-Petitioner in the petition. The short answer to that is that, Section 133(1)(b) of the Electoral Act, 2022 entitles the Petitioner as a political party to institute an election petition. The Applicant has not referred us to any provision of the Electoral Act, or any authority that mandates the political party to file an election petition, only where its candidate has been joined as Co-Petitioner. It is true that, it is proper for the candidate of the party to be so joined but there is no law that compels the political party to join its candidate in the petition. Afterall, the purpose of such joinder is so that the candidate be bound by any judgment or order of the Court or Tribunal but any non-joinder will not invalidate the Petition. This is particularly so when Section 133(1) of the Electoral Act (supra) states that: “An election petition may be presented by one or more of the following persons – (a) a candidate in an election; or (b) a political party which participated in the election.” By the use of the disjunctive word “or”, it means that an Election Petition may be filed by the candidate alone, or the political party alone, or both of them. See Buhari & Anor v. Yusuf & Anor (2003) 14 NWLR (pt. 841) 446 and APC v. PDP & Ors (2015) LPELR – 24349 (CA). The objection on this ground is therefore discountenanced.

— H.S. Tsammani, JCA. APM v INEC & Ors. (2023) – CA/PEPC/04/2023

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