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WITHDRAWAL TAKES EFFECT FROM THE DELIVERING OF A WRITTEN NOTICE OF WITHDRAWAL

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I agree with the views of Learned SAN for the 3rd respondent and Learned Counsel for the 4th respondent. It is glaring from the provision of S.31 of the Electoral Act 2022 that the withdrawal takes effect from when the nominated candidate submitted the notice of his or her withdrawal to the political party that nominated him or her. S. 31 prescribe how the withdrawal is done by the nominated candidate. It states thusly”by notice in writing signed by him and delivered personally by him to the political party that nominated him or her”. S. 31 prescribes what the political party should do upon receipt of its nominated candidate’s withdrawal. It states that it may convey the withdrawal to INEC not later than 90 days to the election. It is glaring from the express wordings of S.31 of the Electoral Act 2022 that the legislative intention is that the withdrawal should take effect upon the nominated candidate personally delivering a written notice of his withdrawal to the political party and not when the political party conveys it to INEC.

— E.A. Agim, JSC. PDP v INEC (2023) – SC/CV/501/2023

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CANNOT TESTIFY ON POLLING UNIT RESULT IF NOT POLLING UNIT AGENT

This witness is not fit to testify on polling unit result not being a polling unit agent. His testimony on the polling unit is hearsay and shall therefore be discountenanced with … The testimony of PW26 is not reliable in this case. Testimony was to the effect that he was the Party Chairman, and never served as an Agent in any of the polling units or wards but monitored the election. His testimony can at best be described as hearsay and not reliable. We so hold.

— K.M. Akano, J. Edeoga v Mbah (2023) – EPT/EN/GOV/01/2023

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IMPORTANCE OF AUTHENTIC REGISTER OF VOTERS

Again, let me pause here to observe that the importance of an authentic Register of voters for an open and transparent election process cannot be underestimated. Not only that the candidate who intends to contest in a particular election is required to be a registered voter as per the Register of voters, also a person who is minded to cast his vote in an election must be a Registered Voter as per the register of voters to be enabled to cast his vote in an election.

— C.M. Chukwuma-Eneh, JSC. Akeredolu v. Mimiko (2013) – SC. 352/2013

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IN ELECTION PETITION, RECOURSE TO THE FHC RULES IS SUBJECT TO THE ELECTORAL ACT

Specifically, any recourse to the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules must be “subject to the express provisions” of the Act. It follows that it is only where the Electoral Act or First Schedule does not provide for a particular situation that reference would be made to the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules with necessary modification.

— Kekere-Ekun, JSC. Nyesom v. Peterside (SC.1002/2015 (REASONS), 12 Feb 2016)

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NONCOMPLIANCE MUST AFFECT THE RESULT OF THE ELECTION

In Akinfosile v Ijose (1960) 5 FSC 192, one of the earliest cases, if not the earliest, it was held that the onus is on the petitioner to prove not only that there was substantial non-compliance with the Electoral Act, but also that such non-compliance affected the result of the election. The decision was followed in the case of Kudu v Aliyu (1992) 3 NWLR (Part 231) 598

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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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NOT EVERY GROUND OF NONCOMPLIANCE WILL AMOUNT TO CORRUPT PRACTICE

It is also pertinent to observe that in paragraph 79 of the Petition where the Petitioners alleged corrupt practices, they merely stated that they are repeating their pleadings in support of the grounds of non compliance to be in support of their allegations of corrupt practices. It should be noted however, that not every ground of non-compliance will amount to corrupt practice. In fact, the standard of proof of non compliance differs from that of corrupt practice. While the standard of proof of non-compliance is on the balance of probabilities, that of corrupt practice is beyond reasonable doubt. See: PDP v INEC (supra) at page 31, paras. A – B, per Rhodes-Vivour, JSC; MOHAMMED v WAMAKKO (2017) LPELR-42667(SC) at page 10, paras. D-F, per Nweze, JSC; and BOARD OF CUSTOMS & EXCISE v ALHAJI IBRAHIM BARAU (1982) LPELR-786(SC) at pages 41-43, paras. F-E, per Idigbe, JSC.

— H.S. Tsammani, JCA. Peter Obi & Anor. v INEC & Ors. (2023) – CA/PEPC/03/2023

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