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SUIT NO: FHC/LF/CS/20/2022 AWAJE DANLAMI v. PEOPLES DEMOCRATIC PARTY & 4 OTHERS
BURDEN OF PROOF UNDER SECTION 29 (5) & (6) OF THE ELECTORAL ACT 2022 ON ALLEGED FALSE INFORMATION
We are pleased to have represented Honourable Bulus Babawi Ishaku (Our Client); the Nominated Candidate of the People’s Democratic Party in Keffi, Karu and Kokana Federal Constituency of Nasarawa State in the Forthcoming General Election in 2023, in a contentious Pre-Election litigation before the Federal High Court, Lafia Division in Nasarawa State, Nigeria.
The Plaintiff, an aspirant in the primary election culminating into the nomination of our client, contended before the court amongst other things that the alleged failure of our client to attach his qualifying certificate in his FORM EC-9 was fatal and the said failure vitiates his nomination and candidature to the office of Member, Federal House of Representatives representing Keffi, Karu, Kokona Federal Constituency of Nasarawa State. The Trial Judge in dismissing the suit in its entirety agreed with the argument of our Managing Partner; Michael Jonathan Numa, SAN that, neither the Constitution nor the Electoral Act, 2022 makes it mandatory for the candidate to attach his qualifying certificate to his FORM EC-9 in order to demonstrate his qualification to contest for elective office in Nigeria.
More fundamentally, under the current dispensation, a Court of law can only invoke Section 29 (6) of the Electoral Act, 2022 when a candidate has not met the Constitutional requirements to contest for elective office; hence, the matter discloses no reasonable cause of action.
The most instructive finding of the court is that a Plaintiff who seeks to impugn a candidate’s educational qualification must call the issuing authorities to either disclaim the origin of the result presented by such candidate or deny unequivocally that the Candidate does not possess the proprietary interest in the educational qualification he or she supplied in the prescribed FORM EC-9.
The Court ultimately held that the Plaintiff has failed to prove his case beyond a reasonable doubt that the information contained in our client’s FORM EC-9 was false of a fundamental nature to impair his constitutionally required qualification. Our team, who successfully prosecuted this matter, comprised of our Managing Partner; M. J Numa, SAN, K.B Ebitibituwa Esq. and O.O Osusu Jnr. Esq.
Elections as a tenet of democracy is the right and power of a people to decide who wields the helms of authority in running the affairs of a nation at various levels of government by electing candidates into political offices across the country. It is the way by which the choice of the majority in a State is determined and decided.
In the last few years, Nigeria has experienced a rapid shift in technological growth and advancement impacting the country’s economy positively through unprecedented investment in the sector. According to the Nigerian Startup Ecosystem Report 2022, it was reported that Nigeria is Africa’s most popular investment destination, the report also revealed that between 2015 and 2022, 383 Nigerian tech Startups raised a total of $2Billion, higher than any other country.