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A.G of Federation v. Atiku Abubakar (2007) - SC

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A.G of Federation v. Atiku Abubakar (2007) - SC
by PaulPipAr


Attorney-General of the Federation;
Inspector General of Police;
Independent National Electoral Commission;



Alhaji Atiku Abubakar (Vice President, Federal Republic of Nigeria);
The National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria;
The President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria;
Speaker, House of Representative of the Federal Republic of Nigeria;


Supreme Court

Sunday Akinola Akintan, JSC

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This is an appeal against the lead judgement given by the Court of Appeal per Umaru Abdullahi PCA JCA. The fact is as follows: The President removed the Vice-president from office by declaring the Vice-president seat vacant because the Vice-president defected to Action Congress, a political party. Hence, the Vice-president had brought this suit before the Court of Appeal for determination.

1. Whether or not the Court of Appeal was right in granting the plaintiffs reliefs Nos. 1, other relevant reliefs, when on the available evidence, which was not considered, there was no lis.
2. Whether or not the Court of Appeal acting under S. 239 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is a trial court which is obliged to evaluate the evidence, identify issues in dispute and apply the findings on the law before arriving at any decision.

1. Issue one was dismissed by the Supreme Court stating: I believe that the sum total of the evidence available on record clearly support the contention that the 1st respondent had supplied sufficient evidence to show that he had a good cause of action to warrant instituting this action which he filed in the court below.
2. Issue two was averred by the Court to lack merit as evidence has not been shown to prove such issue. The Court said, "I hold that since it has not been shown that the conclusions reached by the court below in the instances raised under the said issue 2 resulted in the court's decision being perverse, the appeal, as it relates to issue 2, therefore lacks merit." "The fact that the learned President did not repeat the evidence led in support of any particular conclusion he drew or to say that he came to a particular decision because he believed or disbelieved a particular piece of evidence will not be enough to set aside such conclusion."
Other issues raised were affirmed by the Supreme Court inline with the Court of Appeal verdict.
The appeal was dismissed and no cost was awarded. The Court said in closing, "This is because the term of the 1st respondent as Vice President has not expired and he cannot be removed by the President except through impeachment by the National Assembly. [See 144 CFRN 1999]"

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Article 11 of the Constitution of the United States;
Nwabueze, Constitutional Democracy in Africa Vol. 4, Forms of Government, pages 78-79;
M.P. Jain, Indian Constitutional Law, 3 edition, pages 97-100;
S.142 CFRN 1999;
S.143 CFRN 1999;
S.146 CFRN 1999;
S.68(1)(g) and S.109(1)(g) CFRN 1999;
S.306(1)(2)(3) CFRN 1999;

It is settled law that a lis or cause of action is constituted by a bundle of facts which the law will recognize as giving the plaintiff a right of action. It is a situation or state of facts, which would entitle a party to sustain action and give him right to seek judicial remedy or redress. Such facts or combination of facts which give rise to a right to sue may consist of two elements - viz: the wrongful act of the defendant, which gives the plaintiff his cause of action. - Sunday Akinola Akintan, JSC. A.G Federation v. Atiku Abubakar (2007)

Judgment writing is an art by itself in which every individual has his own peculiar style and method. There is no particular form a judgment should take. But all that is required of a good judgment is that it must contain some well-known constituent parts. Some of such constituent parts, which a good judgment must contain, in cases of a trial court, include:
(1) The issues or questions to be decided in the cases;
(2) The essential facts of the cases of each party and the evidence led in support;
(3) The resolution of the issues of fact and law raised in the cases;
(4) The conclusion or general inference drawn from facts and the law as resolved;
(5) The verdict and orders made by the court;
- Sunday Akinola Akintan, JSC. A.G Federation v. Atiku Abubakar (2007)

"The generally accepted rule of construction is that it is to be assumed that the words and phrases of technical legislation are used in their technical meaning if they have acquired one, and otherwise in their ordinary meaning. Phrases and sentences are to be construed according to the rules of grammar. If there is nothing to modify, alter or qualify the language, which the statute contains, it must be construed in the ordinary and natural meaning of the words and sentences. This approach is regarded as "literal interpretation" or characterized as the "positivist approach." - Sunday Akinola Akintan, JSC. A.G Federation v. Atiku Abubakar (2007)

The Constitution has not conferred on the court the power to declare the office of the holder of the two offices vacant for whatever reason. - Sunday Akinola Akintan, JSC. A.G Federation v. Atiku Abubakar (2007)

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