John Kadiya V. Solomon Daushep Lar & Ors (1983) LLJR-SC

John Kadiya V. Solomon Daushep Lar & Ors (1983)

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In SC.95/1983, Paul Unongo vs. Aper Aku and others delivered this morning, we have stated extensively our reasons for declaring as unconstitutional the periods of time fixed for hearing and determining of Election Petitions before Courts of Law. Reference was made to the provisions of section 4(8), section 33(1) and section 258 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1979.

I have also agreed with the judgment of the Federal Court of Appeal, Jos in setting aside the preliminary objections. I do not agree with the circumstances on which that Court decided in expressing its helplessness in remitting the case to the High Court, Benue State for it to be tried on the merits.

The helplessness expressed by the Federal Court of Appeal in remitting this present appeal to the High Court, Jos is similar to that expressed in the Benue High Court case and that case was remitted to the High Court for it to be tried on the merits.

There is one outstanding matter which concerns the dialogue between the Chief Judge, Plateau State, Jos and the learned counsel for the petitioner, Mr. Kehinde Sofola, SAN., and which was confirmed by Mr. G. O. K. Ajayi, SAN., the learned counsel for the first respondent in that case on the 12th of September, 1983. Because of this dialogue, I thought that tempers rose high that certain things which ought not to have been said were uttered between the Chief Judge and Mr. Kehinde Sofola and I therefore thought that this case should be remitted to be heard afresh before another panel in which the Chief Judge would not be a member. I did not intend this to be a reflection on the judiciary at all because I believe that the judiciary in Nigeria will continue to be absolutely impartial in the discharge of its duties.

I would therefore in this circumstance disregard as reasons for this judgment all that took place at the first hearing of the election petition and hope that it will be regarded as closed.

It is for this reason that I regard the judgment of the Federal Court of Appeal, Jos, for failure to send the case back to the High Court, Jos for retrial as erroneous.

I therefore ordered that the case be remitted for rehearing with dispatch before a new panel of the Plateau High Court, Jos, and that it should be heard on the merits.


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