IN THE SUPREME COURT OF NIGERIA
ANDREWS OTUTU OBASEKI JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT
MUHAMMADUL LAWAL UWAIS JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT
ADOLPHUS GODWIN KARIBI-WHYTE JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT
SAIDU KAWU JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT
SALIHU MODIBBO ALFA BELGORE JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT
APOSTLE SELEDE ESEWE APPELLANT
CHIEF NELSON TEBESAGBEHA GBE RESPONDENTS
THE NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION
STATE ELECTORAL COMMISSIONER, BENDEL STATE, PROFESSOR P.A. SADA
THE ELECTORAL OFFICER, BOMADI LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA, MR. I. BUNU
THE RETURNING OFFICER WARD 3, BOMADI LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA.
OBASEKI, J.S.C. (Delivering the Lead Ruling): Having heard the submissions of counsel for all the parties and read the Local Government Elections Decree, 1987 No. 37 of 1987,1 uphold the preliminary objection raised by the 1st respondent and hold that as the Decree No.37 of 1987 does not vest any jurisdiction in the Supreme Court this Court has no jurisdiction to entertain the applications contained in the motion paper filed by the applicant. Section 36(2) of the Decree makes the decision of the Court of Appeal final on any question relating to Local Government Elections under that Decree and does not give the Supreme Court appellate or supervisory jurisdiction.
The application is hereby struck out with N50.00 to the 1st respondent and N50.00 to the 2nd to 5th respondents.
UWAIS, J.S.C. The application before us arose from the decision of the Court of Appeal in an election petition filed in the High Court of Bendel State sitting at Warri. The petition is in respect of an election into Bomadi Local Government Council.
The 1st respondent to the application has raised a preliminary objection that by virtue of the provisions of Section 36(2) of the Local Government Elections Decree, 1987 this Court has no jurisdiction to entertain the appeal from the decision of the Court of Appeal.
Now by Section 36(2) of the 1987 Decree - "The decision of the Court of Appeal is final"
This provision is very clear and without any ambiguity. 1 therefore agree that this Court has no jurisdiction to entertain the application. The application is therefore incompetent.
For these reasons the application is hereby struck-out with N50.00 costs to each set of respondents.
KARIBI-WHYTE, J.S.C. :The appellant is seeking leave of this court to appeal against the judgment of the court on an interlocutory decision in the election petition against the 1st Respondent. The application which was refused in the High Court was to amend the petition against the election of the 1st Respondent. The Court of Appeal assumed jurisdiction and allowed the appeal of the 1st Respondent. Appellant is now appealing against the judgment of the Court of Appeal.
Mr. Ihensekhien for the 1st Respondent, and Mr. Osifo for the 2nd - 5th Respondents have submitted that the appeal is incompetent. They rely on the provisions of S.36(2) of the Local Government Elections Decree No.37 of 1987, and S.5(l) of Decree No. 1 of 1984 and argue that the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Local Government Election petitions are final and no appeal lies to the Supreme Court. Dr. Odje submits that jurisdiction was assumed under the provisions of the Constitution 1979 which gives a right of appeal to the Supreme Court.
There is no doubt the provisions of S.36(2) of Decree No. 37 of 1987 clearly states that the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Election petitions is conclusive and final. There is therefore no jurisdiction in this Court. In the circumstances, the preliminary objection is upheld. The application for leave to appeal, etc. is hereby struck out.
Applicant shall pay N50 costs to the Respondents.
KAWU, J.S.C. Having heard counsel's submission, 1 am of the view that there is merit in the preliminary objection that this Court has no jurisdiction to entertain this application in view of the clear provisions of S.36(2) of the Local Government Elections Decree No.37 of 1987 which state that the decision of the Court of Appeal on election petitions shall be final. The preliminary objection therefore succeeds and the application is hereby struck out with N50.00 costs to each set of the respondents.
BELGORE, J.S.C. The preliminary objection concerns the fact of an election petition pending in an election Court. An application was made in respect of amendment of the petition, the ruling on which led to an appeal to Court of Appeal. Court of Appeal on a preliminary objection that it had no jurisdiction to hear interlocutory appeal on an election petition, ruled that by virtue of S.220 of the Constitution, it had jurisdiction. This seems to contradict S.36(l) Local Government Elections Decree (No.37 of 1987), which clearly vests jurisdiction in case of final decision. It is to be noted that appeal does not go beyond Court of Appeal by virtue of the same Decree No. 37. This matter before us, for purpose of the Decree 37 (supra), is an election matter and the reversion to Constitution cannot alter the situation. The matter cannot go to this court as the decision of the Court of Appeal is final. Interlocutory application to this Court is not competent. The application is struck out with N50.00 costs to each set of respondents.
Objection upheld Application Struck out.
Dr. Mudiaga Odje. S.A.N, (with him, A.L. keshinro) For the Appellants
Chief C.O.Ihensekhien, S.A.N ( with him, F.Zimughan,B.O.Adebisi and Alhaji S. Hassan)
E.E.Osifo For the Respondents