Whether The Court Can Compel A Political Party to Nominate an Aspirant as A Candidate on Ground of Breach of the Party Guidelines

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CASE TITLE:                LABOUR PARTY v. NNAJI & ANOR (2023) LPELR-59426(CA)



JUSTICES:                     HAMMA AKAWU BARKA, JCA


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DIVISION:                     ABUJA




The case of the 1st Respondent as the plaintiff at the trial Court is that as a bona fide member of the Appellant (2nd Defendant at the trial Court), in Akpawfu/Isienu Ward, Amagunze Nkanu East Local Government Area of Enugu State, he expressed interest in participating in the Appellant’s gubernatorial primary election and was assured by the Appellant that if he met the requirements of paying for the party’s expression of interest and nomination form in the sum of Twenty-Five Million Naira (N25,000,000.00) he would be nominated as its consensus gubernatorial candidate, According to him, he met the condition and paid the said sum. The 1st Respondent posited that unless the Court orders, the Appellant would continue to refuse to declare him or publish his name as its candidate, contrary to the assurances given to him and upon his payment of the said Twenty-Five Million Naira (N25,000,000.00).

He therefore commenced an action the Federal High Court, Abuja seeking, among other reliefs, for an order of Court mandating the Appellant to declare him as the authentic and validly nominated consensus gubernatorial candidate of the Appellant in Enugu state for the forthcoming 2023 General Elections.

After hearing the parties, the trial Court held in favour of the 1st Respondent and held that the primary election of the Appellant conducted on August 4th, 2022 from which the Appellant’s candidate for Enugu State Governorship, Honourable Chijioke Edeoga, emerged was nullified and in its stead, a fresh election was ordered.

The Appellant being dissatisfied, appealed to the Court of Appeal. The appeal was heard on the Appellant’s brief alone.



The Court determined the appeal on the following issue:

“Whether the learned trial Court was right to have assumed jurisdiction to entertain the action of the 1st Respondent incepted before that Court.”


The learned counsel for the Appellant submitted that the 1st Respondent’s case as seen from the facts in the supporting affidavit was primarily predicated on the internal affairs of the Appellant which the Court is not allowed to interfere or concern itself with. That he was not mainly complaining that any of the provisions of the Electoral Act and the guidelines of the Appellant have been breached in respect of the selection and nomination of a candidate of the party. The averment instead, sought the Court below to compel the Appellant to sponsor him as the Appellant’s consensus gubernatorial candidate and it is only the Political party that can and should decide what the 1st Respondent asserted. In support, learned counsel cited the cases of ONUOHA V. OKAFOR 1983 2 SCNLR 244, DALHATU V. TURAKI 2003 15 NWLR PT. 843 310, ARDO V. NYAKO supra, ANGADI V. PDP 2018 15 NWLR PT. 1641 32 and EYIBOH V. ABIA 2012 16 NWLR PT. 1325 51.


The appeal was allowed. The judgment of the trial Court was held to have been arrived at without jurisdiction, it was accordingly, struck out.


ELECTORAL MATTERS- SELECTION/NOMINATION OF CANDIDATE: Whether the Court can compel a political party to nominate an aspirant as a candidate on ground of breach of the party guidelines

“It is pertinent to note that a scrutiny of the prayers of the 1st Respondent shows that the main substance of all the reliefs sought on the overall in a nutshell in my view and humbly, is that the Court below should assist/help him by ordering the Appellant to fulfil its alleged promise to him of making/declaring him as its consensus gubernatorial candidate, having paid the alleged agreed sum by him, the sum of Twenty-Five Million Naira. See pages 5 to 8 of the Record and the case of ANGADI V. PDP 2018 15 NWLR PT. 1641 32. One cannot agree more with the submission of the learned Silk for the Appellant that the issue of breach of party’s guideline inserted by the 1st Respondent is an afterthought.

A pertinent question that consequently follows is whether or not the substance of the 1st Respondent’s reliefs, his prayers in their entirety, can be categorised as internal, domestic or housekeeping issues of the party, given the firm and long settled position in the cases of ONUOHA V. OKAFOR 1983 2 SCNLR 244, DALHATU V. TURAKI 2003 15 NWLR PT. 843 310 and ARDO V. NYAKO 2014 10 NWLR PT. 1416 591. Instructively and quite clearly, the apex Court as well as this Court have in plethora of cases stated that the Court is not allowed to enter into the domestic affair of a political party in its selection or nomination of its candidate on the pretext that a breach occurred with regard to its guidelines. No aspirant is allowed or entitled to approach the Court to compel the Political party in nominating the aspirant as a candidate on the aspirant’s perceived breach of the party’s guidelines.” Per WILLIAMS-DAWODU, J.C.A.

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