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Home » Nigerian Cases » Supreme Court » Independent National Electoral Commission & Anor V. Alhaji Abdulkadir Balarabe Musa & Ors (2002) LLJR-SC

Independent National Electoral Commission & Anor V. Alhaji Abdulkadir Balarabe Musa & Ors (2002) LLJR-SC

Independent National Electoral Commission & Anor V. Alhaji Abdulkadir Balarabe Musa & Ors (2002)

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L. UWAIS, C.J.N.

The respondents in this appeal were the plaintiffs in the Federal High Court Abuja Division (Adah, J.). They brought an action thereat against the appellants herein as defendants. In the originating summons commencing the action, the plaintiffs asked for the following reliefs:-

“1. A DECLARATION that the registration of political parties in Nigeria is governed by the provisions of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.

  1. A DECLARATION that the 1st defendant, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) cannot prescribe guidelines for the registration of political parties outside the conditions stipulated by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.
  2. A DECLARATION that guideline no. 3(a) contained in the 1st defendant’s guidelines for the registration of political parties dated the 15th day of May, 2002 issued by the 1st defendant, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) but released to the public on the 17th day of May, 2002 which prescribes that an association seeking registration as political party must submit “the names, residential addresses and states of origin respectively of the members of its National and State Executive Committees and the records of proceedings of the meeting where these officers were elected” is unconstitutional, and therefore null and void, in so far as it enjoins such association to submit the names, residential addresses and states of origin respectively of the members of its state executive committees, and the records of proceedings of the meetings where both members of its national and state executive committees were elected.
  3. A DECLARATION that guideline no. 3(c) contained in the 1st defendant’s ‘guidelines for the registration of political parties’ dated the 15th day of May, 2002 issued by the 1st defendant, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) but released to the public on the 17th day of May, 2002 which prescribes that an association seeking registration as a political party must present “a register showing that its membership is open to every citizen of Nigeria” is unconstitutional and therefore null and void.
  4. A DECLARATION that guideline no. 3(d) (iv) contained in the 1st defendant’s ‘guidelines for the registration of political parties’ dated the 15th day of May, 2002 issued by the 1st defendant, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) but released to the public on the 17th day of May, 2002 which prescribes that an association seeking registration as a political party must show “a provision that its constitution and manifesto conform with the provisions of the 1999 constitution, the electoral act of 2001 and these guidelines” is unconstitutional and therefore null and void in so far as the guideline relates to “the electoral act, 2001 and these guidelines”.
  5. A DECLARATION that guideline no. 3(e) contained in the 1st defendant’s ‘guidelines for the registration of political parties’ dated the 15th day of May, 2002 issued by the 1st defendant, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) but released to the public on the 17th day of May, 2002 which prescribes that an association seeking registration as a political party must have “a register showing the names, residential addresses of persons in at least 24 states of the federation and FCT who are members of the association” is unconstitutional and therefore null and void.
  6. A DECLARATION that guideline no.3 (f) contained in the 1st defendant’s ‘guidelines for the registration of political parties’ dated the 15th day of May, 2002 issued by the 1st defendant, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) but released to the public on the 17th day of May, 2002 which prescribes that an association seeking registration as a political party must present “an affidavit sworn to by the chairman and secretary of the association to the effect that no member of the national executive of the association is a member of any other existing party or existing political association” is unconstitutional and therefore null and void.
  7. A DECLARATION that guideline no. 3(g) contained in the 1st defendant’s ‘guidelines for the registration of political parties’ dated the 15th day of May, 2002 issued by the 1st defendant, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) but released to the public on the 17th day of May, 2002 which prescribes that an association seeking registration as a political party must present “a bank statement indicating the bank account into which all income of the proposed political association has been paid and shall continue to be paid and from which all expenses are paid and shall be paid” is unconstitutional and therefore null and void.
  8. A DECLARATION that guideline no.3 (h) contained in the 1st defendant’s ‘guidelines for the registration of political parties’ dated the 15th day of May, 2002 issued by the 1st defendant, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) but released to the public on the 17th day of May, 2002 which prescribes that an association seeking registration as political party must submit “the addresses of its offices, list of its staff, list of its operational equipment and furniture in at least states of the federation” is unconstitutional and therefore null and void.
  9. A DECLARATION that guideline no. 3(h) contained in the 1st defendant’s ‘guidelines for the registration of political parties’ dated the 15th day of May, 2002 issued by the 1st defendant, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) but released to the public on the 17th day of May, 2002 in so far as it prescribes that a party seeking registration must submit a list of its staff, list of its operational equipment and furniture in its headquarters office at Abuja is unconstitutional and therefore null and void.
  10. A DECLARATION that guideline no. 5(b) contained in the 1st defendant’s ‘guidelines for the registration of political parties’ dated the 15th day of May, 2002 issued by the 1st defendant, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) but released to the public on the 17th day of May, 2001 which prescribes that “a person shall not be eligible to be registered as a member of political association seeking to be registered as a political party if he/she is in the civil service of the federation or of a state” is unconstitutional and therefore null and void.
  11. A DECLARATION that guideline no.2 (d) contained in the 1st defendant’s ‘guidelines for the registration of political parties’ dated the 15th day of May, 2002 issued by the 1st defendant, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) but released to the public on the 17th day of May, 2002 which prescribes that each association seeking registration as a political party must accompany its application with twenty (20) copies of the association’s constitution is unconstitutional and therefore null and void.
  12. A DECLARATION that guideline no. 2(c) contained in the 1st defendant’s ‘guidelines for the registration of political parties’ dated the 15th day of May, 2002 issued by the 1st defendant, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) but released to the public on the 17th day of May, 2002 which prescribes payment of N100,000.00(One hundred thousand naira) by an association, that applies for registration is unconstitutional and therefore null and void.
  13. A DECLARATION that sections 74(2)(g) and (h), 74(6), 77(b) and 78(2)(b) of the Electoral Act, 2001 which enlarge and 79(2)(c) of the said act which curtails the provisions of the 1999 constitution on the registration of political parties are unconstitutional and therefore null and void and of no effect whatsoever.
  14. A PERPETUAL INJUNCTION restraining the 1st defendant, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), its agents, officers, privies from basing the registration of political parties either in whole or in part on guidelines nos. 3(a), 3(c), 3(d)(iv), 3(e), 3(f), 3(g), 3(h), 5(b), 2(c) and 2(d) or from acting on the said guidelines in the consideration or process of the registration of political parties.
  15. AN ORDER compelling the 1st defendant, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to refund the sum of N100,000.00 (one hundred thousand naira) paid by each of the associations that applied for the registration as political parties.
  16. AN ORDER compelling the 1st defendant, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to return 19 of the 20 copies of the association’s constitution submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) by the political associations that have applied for registration as a political party.”
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The trial Judge granted reliefs nos. 1, 2, 13 and 16 in full and granted in part reliefs no. 14 in respect of section 74(2)(g) of the Electoral Act, 2001 only and no. 15 in respect of guidelines nos. 2(c) and 3(g). The remaining reliefs were not granted by him. The plaintiffs, aggrieved by the decision. They therefore, appealed to the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division (Mustapher, JCA, (as he then was) Muntaka-Coomassie and Bulkachuwa, JJ.C.A.). The 1st respondent also cross appealed.

In its judgment, the Court of Appeal (per Mustapher, JCA) allowed the main appeal by the plaintiffs and set aside part of the judgment of the trial court which refused to grant the reliefs sought by the plaintiffs. The court below declared the guidelines issued by the 1st defendant, namely, no. 2(c), 2(d), 3(a), 3(c), (b) 3(d)(iv), 3(e), 3(f), 3(g), 3(h) and 5(g) as unconstitutional, null and void. It also declared sections 74 subsections (2)(g) and (h), 74 subsection (6), 77(b), 78 subsection (2)(b) and 79 subsection (2) (c) all of the Electoral Act, 2001 unconstitutional, null and void. The court finally granted an injunction against the 1st defendant as follows:

“The INEC, its agents, officers, privies are restrained from basing the registration of political associations as political parties on the aforesaid of fending provisions of the guidelines and the Electoral Acts, 2001.”

In addition, the Court of Appeal dismissed in its entirety the cross appeal brought by the 1st defendant.

Both the 1st and 2nd defendants have now appealed to this court against the decision of the Court of Appeal. At the conclusion on 29th October, 2002 of the argument by all the counsel in this case, we indicated that in view of the urgency required in giving our decision, since it is likely that local government elections, which the plaintiffs’ associations if successful in this case, would like to contest, it is necessary to give our judgment today and reserve the reasons for the judgment till 24th January, 2003. I accordingly hereby hold that the appeals by both the 1st and 2nd defendants succeed only in part and I make the following orders –

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(1) That relief No1 is granted.

(2) That relief No.2 is refused.

(3) That relief No.3 is granted.

(4) That relief No.4 is granted.

(5) That relief No.5 is granted.

(6) That relief No.6 is granted.

(7) That relief No.7 is granted.

(8) That relief No.8 is granted.

(9) That relief No.9 is granted.

(10) That relief No. 10 is granted.

(11) That relief No. 11 is granted.

(12) That relief No. 12 is refused.

(13) That relief No. 13 is refused.

(14) That relief No. 14 is granted in part only, that is, in respect of sections 74 subsection (2) (h) and 79 subsection (2)(c) of the Electoral Act, 2001 but not in respect of the other sections of the act.

(15) That relief No. 15 is granted in part only, that is, in respect of guidelines Nos. 3(a), 3(c), 3(d) (iv), 3(e), 3(f), 3(g), 3(h) and 5(b) but not in respect of guidelines 2(c) and 2(d).

(16) That relief No. 16 is refused.

(17) That relief No. 17 is refused.

There is no order as to costs, each party is to bear its costs.

Reasons for judgment are reserved and will be delivered on 24th January, 2003.

Appeal allowed in part.


SC.228/2002

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