From the CourtPilot Law


APC & ANOR v. OBASEKI & ORS (2021) LCN/4981(SC)

In The Supreme Court

On Friday, May 28, 2021


Before Our Lordships:

Ejembi Eko  – Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria

Mohammed Lawal Garba – Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria

Abdu Aboki- Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria

Tijjani Abubakar – Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria

Emmanuel Akomaye Agim – Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria




  1. Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki 2. Peoples Democatic Party (PDP)
  2. Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) – Respondent(s)






and S.N ERNEST EGBURA – For 1st Respondent

  1. O. ISENALUMHE – For 2nd Respondent

IDAHOSA M. A. BAWA – FOR 3RD RESPONDENT  – For Respondent(s)

Emmanuel Akomaye Agim, J.S.C. – Delivering the Leading Judgment

This appeal No. SC/CV/376/2021 was commenced on 30-3-2021 when the appellant herein filed a notice of appeal against the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Appeal No. CA/A/71/2021 delivered on 18-3-2021 dismissing the applicant’s appeal to it against the judgment of the Federal High Court delivered on 9-1-2021 in suit No. FHC/B/CS/74/2020 and affirming the said judgment.

An Order Of Injunction restraining the 2nd Defendant by itself or through its servants, privies, members, agents or associates from parading or representing itself as having sponsored or nominated the 1st Defendant or canvas for vote in whatsoever manner for 1st Defendant in respect of the election to the office of Governor of Edo State scheduled for 19th September, 2020 or on any other date that may be appointed for the purpose.

Be it as it is, let me, for whatever it is worth, still consider the issue of whether the Court of Appeal was right in affirming the decision of the trial Court that the appellants did not prove their case.

The case presented by the appellants in their pleadings is that the information the 1st respondent gave in his INEC Form EC9 of 29-6-2020 that he obtained a degree certificate from the University of Ibadan is false as he did not obtain the said degree from the University of Ibadan in 1979, that the photocopy of the undated degree certificate signed by only the Vice Chancellor is forged, that the 1st respondent gave false information in INEC Form EC9 that he worked in Afrinvest Ltd from 1994 to 2014 and retired, that the A/Level WAEC Certificate dated June, 1976 and Testimonial from Institute of Continuing Education in Benin City stating that 1st respondent sat for Advance Level examination in May/June 1975 submitted with 1st respondent’s INEC Form EC9 are forged.

What is clear from the evidence elicited by the appellants is that they relied on the information in 1st respondent’s INEC FORM CF001 of 2016 (exhibit PL 11) to prove the falsity of the information in his INEC Form EC9 (exhibit PL. 10) that he obtained a degree from University of Ibadan in 1979 and that he worked with Afrinvest between 1994 to 2016. The information in exhibits PL. 11 and PL. 10 differ only on the year of graduation from University of Ibadan and the period 1st respondent worked at Afrinvest. Such differences may create doubt about the truth of the information in either exhibit PL. 10 or PL. 11. But they cannot be proof that the said information in the affidavit in exhibit P10 is false. Such proof would require evidence beyond a different information in a previous affidavit of the informant.

The appellants relied on the features or contents of the photocopy of the University of Ibadan Degree Certificate that accompanied INEC Form CFOOI (exhibit P. 11) in 2016 particularly the facts that it had no date and was signed by only the Vice Chancellor to show that the same University of Ibadan Degree Certificate that accompanied INEC Form EC9 in 2020 which is dated and signed by the Vice Chancellor and the Registrar of the University is forged or false. They also relied on differences between the photocopies of A/Level WAEC Certificate of June, 1976 and the Testimonial issued by the Institute of Continuing Education in Benin City on the subjects 1st respondent entered for and wrote in the Advance Level Examination and the year of the examination to prove that either of the two documents is forged.

In the light of the foregoing, I hold that the Court of Appeal correctly affirmed the decision of the trial Court that the appellants did not prove their case.

In the light of the above determinations, no useful purpose would be served considering the other issues and even the cross-appeal.

On the whole this appeal fails as it lacks merit. It is accordingly dismissed.

The cross- appeal having become academic is hereby struck out. The appellants shall pay costs of one million naira to the 1st respondent.

EJEMBI EKO, J.S.C.: The judgment just delivered by my learned brother, EMMANUEL AKOMAYE AGIM, JSC, which I had the privilege of reading in draft, represents my views in the appeal.

I have no cause to disturb the concurrent findings of fact, very adverse to the Appellants, on the core facts in issue at the trial Court. The Appellants failed woefully to establish that the 1st Respondent falsified/forged the educational documents presented to the 3rd Respondent (INEC). It is, therefore, my firm conclusion that the two Courts below were properly seised of the facts in issue as pleaded in the Statement of Claim and that they did not misconceive the case of the Appellants at the trial Court.

MOHAMMED LAWAL GARBA, J.S.C.: I have had a preview of the Lead Judgment written by my Learned Brother, E. A. Agim, JSC, in this appeal and it represents the views expressed and the conclusion reached at the conference of the Hon. Justices on the appeal.

These issues or questions have been adequately considered and dealt with in the lead judgment in line with the facts pleaded and relied on as the basis or foundation of the action as well as the reliefs sought by the Appellants against the 1st Respondent, specifically. The relevant and material facts contained in the Appellants’ statement of claim upon which the case presented before the trial Court against the 1st Respondent was essentially predicated, are in paragraphs 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 26 and 28 of the statement of claim.

In that regard, both the trial Court and the lower Court correctly and rightly comprehended, conceived and properly appreciated the pith and substance of the Appellants’ case against the 1st Respondent contrary to the assertions in the Appellants’ Brief.ABDU ABOKI, J.S.C.: I have before now, read a draft of the Lead Judgment just delivered by My Learned Brother, EMMANUEL AKOMAYE AGIM, JSC. I agree with his reasoning and conclusion that this appeal lacks merit and ought to be dismissed.

This appeal is against the judgment of the Court of Appeal, sitting at Abuja, delivered on the 18th of March, 2021.

After its consideration of the case of parties on both sides, the Court below dismissed the Appellants’ appeal and affirmed the decision of the trial Court.

The Respondents are however of the opinion that the two Courts below were right in their findings and rightly dismissed the Appellants’ case.

The kernel of this appeal, in the main, is whether the two lower Courts misconstrued the case presented by the Appellants, set up and decided a case different from that presented by the Appellants in their pleadings and evidence.

My learned brother has comprehensively dealt with all the issues that arose for determination. I will however add a few words of mine in reiteration of the well-considered lead judgment.

It is for this, and the fuller reasons postulated by my learned brother, EMMANUEL AKOMAYE AGIM, JSC, that I too adjudge this appeal to be unmeritorious. It is hereby dismissed by me.

I also agree with my learned brother that the Cross-Appeal has become otiose and academic. No useful purpose will be served in delving into it.

I abide by all the orders made in the lead judgment.

TIJJANI ABUBAKAR, J.S.C.: This appeal emanated from the judgment of the Court of Appeal CA/71/2021 delivered on the 18th day of March, 2021, wherein the Appellants’ appeal against the judgment of the Federal High Court delivered on the 9th day of January, 2021, in Suit No. FHC/B/CS/74/2020 was dismissed.

I am of the view that, of all the issues distilled for determination, not more than single issue is material to the fair and just determination of the Appellants appeal. In my view therefore, the following issue is sufficient for discourse in the determination of this appeal.

It must be made clear that falsification and forgery are allegations of crime and require proof beyond reasonable doubt by the provisions of Section 135 of the Evidence Act, 2011.

Appellants’ appeal is against the concurrent findings of fact by the trial and lower Courts, Appellants failed to show that the findings are perverse, and this Court does not tinker with concurrent findings of fact unless there are cogent reasons for so doing, In the instant appeal, I find no such reason. See: LEVENTIS TECHNICAL LTD V. PETROJESSICA ENT LTD (1999) 6 NWLR (Pt. 605) 45 at 47, EMIATOR V. THE NIGERIAN ARMY & ORS (1999) 12 NWLR (Pt. 631) 362 at 3721 OKEKE & ORS V. ADU & ORS (1981) 11-12 SC at 42, IBODO V. ENAROFIA (1980) 5/7 SC 42 and UNIVERSITY OF CALABAR V. ESSIEN (1996) 10 NWLR (Pt. 477) 225.

It is therefore clear from all I have  said that the case of the Appellant was not misconceived by the trial and lower Courts, and the Appellant failed to establish his claim against the Respondents beyond reasonable doubt, the order of the trial Court dismissing the claim was made properly so also the decision of the lower Court affirming the decision of the trial Court. I therefore resolve the sole issue in favor of the Respondents, against the Appellants. For the reasons set out in this judgment and the more detailed reasons in the leading judgment prepared and rendered in this appeal by my learned brother AGIM, JSC, I am of the view that Appellants’ appeal is frivolous, vexatious, patently devoid of merit and therefore deserves to be and is hereby dismissed by me. I endorse the leading judgment and abide by all consequential orders including the order on costs.

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