The authority exercised according to the principle of due process of law or a judicial proceeding conducted to conform to the fundamental concepts of justice and equality is a fair hearing.

In a recent case where it was indisputably clear that a party was not afforded a personal representation by the Council/Senate before his dismissal was occasioned a complete nullity.

The right to fair hearing resonates from the fundamental right constitutionally guaranteed by the provisions of Section 36 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (As amended). It envisages that both parties to a case be allowed to present their respective cases without any form of a hindrance at all stages of hearing before reaching a decision since justice must not only be done but must manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to have been done.

Consequently, proceedings that are conducted in breach of a party’s right to fair hearing amounts to a nullity {Ukachukwu v. PDP (2014) 17 NWLR(Pt. 1435)134 at 228, Paras. B-C}, and the same cannot be allowed to stand, no matter how well conducted. The appellate court wouldn’t hesitate to throw out such a decision because the proceedings cannot be salvaged as they are null and void ab initio.

In Eze v. Unijos (2021) 2 NWLR (Pt.1760) 208 at 230 Paras D-E, the Supreme Court stated the standard of fair hearing and the effect of any breach of the right to a fair hearing to wit;
“… the standard of fair hearing requires the observance of the twin pillars of the rules of natural justice, namely:
Audi alteram partem – hear the other side;
Nemo judex in causa sua – no one should be a judge in his own cause. This is the rule against bias.
See Akinfe v. The State (1988) 3 NWLR (Pt. 85) 729 at 753.
Failure of any tribunal like the Governing Council of the respondent which has a duty to take decisions to observe any of those two rules renders the proceedings and the decision a nullity.”

The imperative for parties to be granted the right of a fair hearing in any scenario cannot be overemphasized.

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