A friend told me that he read a case law in which the apex court in Nigeria divested its self from an appellate Jurisdiction in respect of Governorship election petitions. We discussed over it. We fall on different pages. We went back to library. And here are my findings, I will like to share it with you.
BEFORE THE SECOND ALTERATION
So far four alteration have been made to the 1999 Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria. The first Alteration Act was passed by Senate in June, 2010. The Second Alteration Act was passed in November, 2010, the Third came in December 2010 and the Last was passed in 2018.
Before the passage of the Second Alteration Act in 2010, the decision of the court of appeal in respect of an Governorship election petition shall be final, final in the real sense of finality. This have been held in the authority of Sampson Umanah V. Attah Victor and Ors. In this case, Niki Tobi, JSC said that I entirely agree with the Court of Appeal. It cannot be otherwise. This Court has held in a number of cases that it has no jurisdiction to entertain or hear election matters in respect of
election to the office of Governor of a State. This is because by section 246(3) of the 1999 Constitution, the decision of the Court of Appeal with respect of appeals arising from election petitions to the Office of Governor of a State is final. See Awuse v. Odili (20031 18 NWLR (Pt.851) 116.
AFTER SECOND ALTERATION ACT
The S.233 of the Constitution was almost substituted with another, and this section have invested in the Supreme court of Nigeria a Jurisdiction to entertain an appeal from the decision court of appeal in respect of Governorship Election Petition. For clearer view, the Section 233 (2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) clearly provides for this thus: ” (2) An appeal shall lie from the decisions of the Court of Appeal to the Supreme Court as of right in the following case:-
(e) decisions on any question-
(i) whether any person has been validly elected to the Office of President, Vice-President, Governor and Deputy Governor under this Constitution”
This was affirmed by the Ultimate court in plethora of authorities like in IKPEAZU V OTTI AND OTHERS; SENATOR JOEL DANLAMI IKENYA & ORS V. PEOPLES DEMOCRATIC PARTY & ORS; ALL NIGERIAN PEOPLES PARTY & ORS. V. ALKASIM J MOHAMMED GONI & ORS.
With these authorities now, the provision of S.246(3) has been given another meaning. Since the provision of S. 233 (2) (e) expressly excluded the election petition in respect of office of the governors from effect of S. 246 (3), the section’s effect is now only on Election Petition in respect of National and State Houses of Assemblies.
In IKENYA V. PDP The Supreme court held that; An appeal to the Court of Appeal arising from the National and State Houses of Assembly election petitions is final. That means that the decision of the Court of Appeal in respect of appeal arising from the National and State Houses of Assembly election petitions is final See section 246 (3) of the Constitution. The decision of the Supreme Court in respect of
appeals arising from gubernatorial elections petitions is final.
one Should not be confused when he reads the Supreme court saying that under 1999 Constitution it has no jurisdiction to hear an appeal from the decision of Court of Appeal in respect of Election Petitions to the office of Governors or their deputies. Of course, This was the position before the second Alteration Act. But After the second alteration was passed and adopted, an appeal from the decision of Court of Appeal in this respect could be uploaded on the last Portal of Justice.
About the author
Ahmad Abubakar Dubagari. Is a law student, Faculty of Law, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.
For knowledge and Justice