⦿ CASE SUMMARY OF:
John Kadiya v. Solomon Daushep Lar & Ors (1983) – SC
by NSA PaulPipAr
1. Solomon Daushep Lar;
2. Chief Federal Electoral Officer for Plateau State – Alhaji Garba L. Umaru;
3. The Returning Officer – Alhaji Shettima Gana
⦿ LEAD JUDGEMENT DELIVERED BY:
* FOR THE APPELLANT
– Mr. Sofola S.A.N.
* FOR THE RESPONDENT
– G.O.K. Ajayi;
⦿ FACT (as relating to the issues)
The appellant who was the unsuccessful N.P.N. sponsored candidate at the Gubernatorial election held in Plateau State on the 13th day of August, 1983 filed his petition challenging the declaration that the 1st respondent, Solomon Daushep Lar was duly elected or returned.
He filed the petition on the 29th day of August, 1983. When on the 12th day of September, 1983 which was the 30th day after the said election, the matter came up for hearing before the election panel of the Plateau State High Court consisting of Obi Okoye, C.J., Emefo, J. and Soluade, J., the court struck out the petition on the ground that section 140(2) of the Electoral Act cannot be met (which is the time limit for the hearing of the appeal having expired).
The petitioner (Appellant) appealed to the Federal Court of Appeal which appeal was dismissed; hence, a further appeal to this court.
1. Whether the time limit set by the Electoral Act is constitutional?
⦿ HOLDING & RATIO DECIDENDI
1. ISSUE 1 WAS RESOLVED IN FAVOUR OF THE APPELLANT BUT AGAINST THE RESPONDENT.
i. To the extent that the National Assembly had enacted a time limitation within which an election petition was to be disposed of in court, we held that the said provisions cited above were unconstitutional, null and void and of no effect whatsoever as being ultra vires the powers of the National Assembly. While the competence of the National Assembly under section 73 of the Constitution to legislate on matters appertaining to elections is undoubted, such power does not and cannot extend to include a power to impose a time limitation within which a court of law established under the Constitution must conclude the hearing of a case.
Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1979;
⦿ SOME PROVISION(S)
Section 140(2) of the Electoral Act 1982 provides as follows: “A petition filed before the High Court in respect of any election shall be disposed of by the court not later than 30 days from the date of such election and any petition not so disposed of shall be time barred and such petition shall be deemed null and void.”
Section 129(3) of the Electoral Act 1982 provides as follows: “Proceedings before a High Court in the case of a petition in respect of the office of President or Vice-President, Governor or Deputy Governor, or in respect of any of the Legislative Houses shall be completed not later than 30 days from the date of the election concerned.”
⦿ RELEVANT CASE(S)
⦿ CASE(S) RELATED
Unongo v. Aper Aku & Ors. (1983);
⦿ NOTABLE DICTA
The doctrine of separation of powers is the bulwark or anchor on which the survival of this nation as a nation must depend. While each arm of Government must need respect the other arm in the interest of the smooth running of governmental machinery, such respect must never degenerate to the level of one arm being allowed to usurp or impinge on the exclusive domain of the other as spelt out in the Constitution. – Irikefe, JSC. Kadiya v. Daushep (1983)