Whether a Citizen or a Voter Has the Locus Standi to Institute an Action to Have His Preferred Candidate Participate in an Election

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CASE TITLE: PDP v. EDEDE & ANOR (2022) LPELR-57480(CA)

JUDGMENT DATE: 11TH MAY, 2022

PRACTICE AREA: ELECTORAL MATTERS

LEAD JUDGMENT: HAMMA AKAWU BARKA, J.C.A.

SUMMARY OF JUDGMENT:

INTRODUCTION: 

This appeal borders on the issue of Locus standi.

FACTS: 

The appeal emanated from the judgment of the Federal High Court, Umuahia Judicial Division, sitting in Umahia, the Abia State capital in a suit with no. FHC/UM/CS/26/2022, and delivered on the 18th day of March 2022 coram Evelyn Anyadike, J.

The facts of the case are that the Plaintiff Chief Nduka Edede on the 8th day of March 2022, and by way of Originating Summons prayed for the determination of the following questions:

i. Whether by the combined effect of Sections 1(3), 6(6)(a) and (b) 66(1)(f), 107 (1)(f), 137 (1)(g), and 182 (1)(g) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as (amended); the provisions of Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act, 2022 can validly limit, remove, abrogate, disenfranchise, disqualify, and/or oust the constitutional right or eligibility of any political office or public office holder to vote or to be voted for at any convention or congress of any political party for the purposes of the nomination of such person or candidate for any election, where such person has “resigned, withdrawn or retired” from the said political or public office at least 30 days before the date of the election.

ii. Whether by the combined effect of Sections 1(3), 6(6)(a) and (b) 66(1)(f), 107 (1)(f), 137 (1)(g) and 182 (1)(g) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended); the provisions of Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act, 2022 can not validly limit, remove, abrogate, disenfranchise, disqualify, and/or oust the constitutional right or eligibility of any political office or public office holder to vote or to be voted for at any convention or congress of any political party for the purposes of the nomination of such person or candidate for any election, where such person has “resigned, withdrawn or retired” from the said political or public office at least 30 days before the date of the election, is not unconstitutional, ultra vires and inconsistent with the Constitution, invalid and therefore null and void in its entirety.

And should the questions be favourably answered, grant the following reliefs:

1. A declaration that Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act, 2022 can validly limit, remove, abrogate, disenfranchise, disqualify, and/or oust the constitutional right or eligibility of any political office or public office holder to vote or to be voted for at any convention or congress of any political party for the purposes of the nomination of such person or candidate for any election, where such person has “resigned, withdrawn or retired” from the said political or public office at least 30 days before the date of the election

2. A declaration that the provisions of Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act, 2022 which tend or purports to limit, remove, abrogate, disenfranchise, disqualify and oust the constitutional right and eligibility of any political appointee, political or public office holder to vote or be voted for at any convention or congress of any political party for the purposes of the nomination of such person or candidate for any election, where such person has “resigned, withdrawn or retired” from the said political or public office, at least 30 days before the date of the election, is grossly ultra vires and inconsistent with Sections 6 (6) (a) & (b), 66 (1)(f), 107 (1)(f), 137 (1)(g), and 182 (1)(g) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and therefore unconstitutional, invalid, illegal, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.

3. An order of Court nullifying and/or setting aside Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act, 2022 for being unconstitutional, invalid, null and void to the extent of its inconsistency with Sections 66 (1) (f), 107 (1)(f), 137 (1)(g), and 182 (1)(g) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).

4. An order of the Court directing and compelling the Defendant to forthwith delete the provisions of Section 84 (12) from the Electoral Act, 2022 with immediate effect.

In support of the Originating Summons was a 31 Paragraph affidavit. Also filed along with the originating process are other sundry processes and documents. Mr Chris Nevo, having obtained the fiat of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation, filed a counter-affidavit, and on the 17th of March, 2022, the originating summons was heard necessitating the judgment being delivered on the 18th day of March, 2022, in favor of the Plaintiff.

​Dissatisfied with the judgment of the trial Court, the appellant brought this appeal.

ISSUES FOR DETERMINATION:

The Court determined the appeal on the following issues:

1. Whether the lower Court had the jurisdiction to entertain the suit.

2. Whether the trial Court was not right when it declared Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act, 2022, as unconstitutional, null and void, for being inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended). 

3. Whether the provisions of Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act, 2022 struck out was not discriminately and contrary to Sections 17, 35, 40 and Section 42 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the African Charter on Human and People’s Right (ACHPR) and International Covenant on Civil and Political Right (ICCPR).

DECISION/HELD: 

In the final analysis, the Court, based on its decision on issue one, held that the appeal succeeded and it was accordingly allowed. Consequently, the judgment of the Federal High Court was set aside for want of jurisdiction.

RATIOS:

  • ACTION – LOCUS STANDI: Meaning and nature of locus standi; effect of lack of locus standi
  • ACTION – LOCUS STANDI: Whether a citizen or a voter has the locus standi to institute an action to have his preferred candidate participate in an election
  • CONSTITUTIONAL LAW – CONSTITUTIONAL VALIDITY OF LEGISLATION: Whether Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act 2022 is inconsistent with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution
  • CONSTITUTIONAL LAW – CONSTITUTIONAL VALIDITY OF LEGISLATION: Whether a legislation must conform or tally with the Constitution for same to be valid

SOURCE: LAW PAVILLION

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