HON. BASSEY ETIM v. HON. BASSEY ALBERT AKPAN & ORS
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF NIGERIA
ON FRIDAY, THE 6TH DAY OF JULY, 2018
Before Their Lordships
MUSA DATTIJO MUHAMMAD – Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria
KUDIRAT MOTONMORI OLATOKUNBO KEKERE-EKUN – Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria
CHIMA CENTUS NWEZE – Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria
AMIRU SANUSI – Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria
EJEMBI EKO – Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria
HON. BASSEY ETIM – Appellant(s)
1. HON. BASSEY ALBERT AKPAN
2. PEOPLES DEMOCRATIC PARTY [PDP]
3. INDEPENDENT NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION (INEC) – Respondent(s)
This appeal is against the judgment of the Court of Appeal, Calabar Division setting aside the decision of the Federal High Court, Uyo.
The 2nd respondent, with the view to nominating its candidate for the Akwa Ibom North East Senatorial Seat in the 2015 general election, conducted its primary election on the 7th day of December 2014. The appellant, 1st respondent and others contested the primary election, at the end of which the name of the 1st respondent, who had polled the highest vote was forwarded to the 3rd respondent, by the 2nd respondent, as its candidate for the Senatorial Seat. Aggrieved by these turn of events, the appellant commenced the suit at the trial Court.
By his amended statement of claim, the appellant claimed against the respondents, the following reliefs:
“a) A DECLARATION that the 1st defendant is bound by the provisions of its Constitution, Guidelines for the primary Elections 2014 and the results of its nomination processes for the election of its candidate in to the Akwa Ibom North East Senatorial District of Akwa Ibom State.
b) A DECLARATION that the 1st Defendant lacks competence, vires or authority to ignore, sideline or swap the results of the primary election conducted on the 7th December 2014 for the election of its candidate for Akwa Ibom North East Senatorial District to the prejudice of the Plaintiff who was so elected.
c) A DECLARATION that the Plaintiff is, and no other person is for all practical purpose relating to or connected with the 1st Defendant’s candidacy in respect of the 2015 election in the Akwa lbom North East Senatorial District, the candidate of the 1st defendant fielded for the said election.
d) AN ORDER of this Honourable Court mandating the 1st Defendant to forward to the 2nd Defendant and for the said Defendant to accept the name of the Plaintiff as the 1st Defendant’s only candidate for the Akwa lbom North East Senatorial District for the purpose of the 2015 Senatorial elections for that District.
e) AN ORDER of this Honourable Court mandating the 2nd Defendant to recognize and put on the ballot the name of the Plaintiff as the 1st Defendant’s candidate for the Akwa Ibom North East Senatorial District of Akwa lbom State for the purpose of 2015 general elections for that Senatorial District.
f) AN ORDER OF INJUNCTION restraining the 2nd Defendant from accepting, recognizing, dealing with/or putting on the ballot paper the name of the 3rd Defendant or any person other than the Plaintiff as the 1st Defendant’s candidate for Akwa Ibom North East Senatorial District of Akwa lbom State at the 2015 Senatorial elections for that Senatorial District.
g) AN ORDER nullifying any or all purported actions of the Defendants relating to the Senatorial election in respect of Akwa Ibom North East Senatorial election, including any allegedly held election, to the prejudice of the Plaintiff and in contravention of the 1st Defendant’s party primary election of 7th December 2014, the provisions of its Constitution, Guidelines for the Primary Elections 2014 and the result of its nomination processes for the election of its candidate in to Akwa lbom North East Senatorial District of Akwa Ibom State.
h) AN ORDER of this Honourable Court setting aside the certificate of returns issued by the 2nd defendant to the 3rd Defendant same having being done irregularly and illegally.
i) AN ORDER of this Honourable Court on the 2nd Defendant to issue a fresh certificate of return to the Plaintiff as the true and bonafide candidates of the Defendant in to Akwa Ibom North East Senatorial District.”
With pleadings filed, exchanged and the matter fully tried, the trial Court granted the appellant all except items (e) and (f) of his claim it adjudged to have been overtaken by events. Aggrieved by the trial Court’s judgment, the 1st respondent appealed to the Court of Appeal, which set aside the decision of the trial Court. Appellant appealed to the Supreme Court.
The issue for determination is:
“Whether, considering the evidence, oral and documentary, before this Honourable Court, the standard and burden of proof on the Appellant and the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), the 2nd Respondent’s Constitution and Guidelines, the Lower Court was right when it set aside the Trial Court’s Judgment and upheld the 1st Respondent’s victory and nomination at the 2nd Respondent’s Primary Election held on 07 December 2014 in respect of Akwa !bom North-East Senatorial District?”
In conclusion, the appeal was dismissed.