ACN & ORS VS INEC & ORS (2013)



ACN & ORS VS INEC & ORS (2013) – SC

by PaulPipar



  1. Action Congress Of Nigeria (ACN)
  2. Pastor Usani Uguru Usani



  1. Independent National Electoral Commission
  2. The Resident Electoral Commissioner, Cross River State
  3. Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)
  4. Senator Liyel Imoke (CON)



Supreme Court


Nwali Sylvester Ngwuta, JSC





This legal Battle concerns the Governorship election that was conducted in Cross River State.

The 2nd Appellant was the Governorship candidate of the 1st Appellant. The 4th respondent contested for the Governorship election under the aegis of the 3rd respondent. After the election, the 4th respondents was declared the winner of the Cross River State election. The appellants challenged his winning at the Governorship Tribunal of the State. The Governorship tribunal gave judgement in favour of the respondents.

The appellants being aggrieved appealed to the Court of Appeal. The respondents filed a preliminary objection submitting that the appellants are statute barred in accordance with S.285(7) of the CFRN 1999.

The Court of Appeal upheld the objection. The appellants herein has appealed such judgement before the Supreme Court.


  1. PRELIMINARY OBJECTION: The appeal is incompetent and ought to be struck out in that Reliefs (2) and (3) which ultimately seek the hearing of the appeal against the decision of the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal delivered on 7th July, 2012 [is] outside the period of 60 days which violates the clear provision of Section 285 (7) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended.
Available:  Alhaji Sani Abubakar Danladi v. Barr. Nasiru Audu Dangiri & Ors (2014)


  1. The Supreme Court held the preliminary objection in favour of the respondents. The Supreme Court stated further, “In view of all I have said above, the appeal is statute-barred by virtue of Section 285(7) of the 1999 Constitution (supra). This Court has no jurisdiction to entertain it. The preliminary objection raised and argued by the 1st and 2nd Respondents is sustained. The appeal is struck out for want of jurisdiction. For the same reasons, the appeal of the 2nd appellant is also struck out.”


S.285(7) Constitution Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999;



A limitation statute, once it has run out, takes away the right to seek remedy in the enforcement of the accrued right in Court, leaving the right bare and untouched. The right remain but the means to enforce it extinguished for all times. – Nwali Sylvester Ngwuta, JSC. ACN & ORS VS INEC & ORS

Available:  Chijioke Ugwu v. The State (2020)

Conspiracy is an agreement by two or more persons to do or cause to be done an illegal act or a legal act by an illegal means. – Nwali Sylvester Ngwuta, JSC. ACN & ORS VS INEC & ORS

The term, fraud, from which the word “fraudulent’ is derived, is a wilful act on the part of anyone, whereby another person is sought to be deprived of, by illegal or inequitable means, what he is entitled to. – Nwali Sylvester Ngwuta, JSC. ACN & ORS VS INEC & ORS

Section 285 (7) of the Constitution seeks to protect not only the right and interest of the parties to an election matter, but also those of the electorate, who have a right to expect that the matter be resolved expeditiously so that whoever has their collective mandate should settle clown to discharge his/her duties instead of running in and out of Court for the better part of the term of four years. A departure from the Court’s earlier decision on Section 285 (7) of the Constitution would amount to a violation of the Constitution which every Judge is bound by solemn oath to protect.

  • Nwali Sylvester Ngwuta, JSC. ACN & ORS VS INEC & ORS
Available:  Gabriel Madukolu & Ors v. Johnson Nkemdilim [1962]

The Constitution is the norm validating norm. It is the yardstick or standard by which the constitutionality and, ipso facto, validity of every legislation, subsidiary legislation or rules made thereunder can be tested and determined. It is an affront to commonsense to say that the standard by which the validity of any law in the country is determined is in conflict with itself. – Nwali Sylvester Ngwuta, JSC. ACN & ORS VS INEC & ORS

Without law and its rules regulating the enforcement and enjoyment of rights under the law, chaos will reign supreme, with every man pursuing and enjoying his real or perceived right without regard to the right of others, and organised society may come to an end.

  • Nwali Sylvester Ngwuta, JSC. ACN & ORS VS INEC & ORS

The jurisdiction of all courts is constitutional and any exercise outside that conferred by the law is of no effect. It is also significant to restate that neither the court itself nor any of the parties can confer jurisdiction on the court. To insist on a court to assume jurisdiction where there is none, amounts to an exercise in futility. – Clara Bata Ogunbiyi, JSC ACN & ORS VS INEC & ORS




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