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WHERE NO APPEAL ON A DECISION THE DECISION REMAINS BINDING

Dictum

Where a party, be it an Appellant or Respondent does not appeal against a finding or an order of Court, by way of a ground of appeal, a cross-appeal or a Respondent’s notice, that order or finding is binding and acceptable to it. The Respondent herein has not appealed against the order made to introduce and argue the two grounds of appeal. Therefore, the order is binding on it.

– Yahaya, JCA. Petroleum Resources v. SPDC (2021)

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A COURT HAS INHERENT POWERS TO SET ASIDE ITS OWN ORDER MADE WITHOUT

In sum, I hold firmly that where a judgment of this court or an order thereof is adjudged a nullity, a party affected thereby is entitled to have it set aside ex debito justitiae. The court has inherent jurisdiction or power to set aside its own order or decision made without jurisdiction if such order or decision is in fact a nullity or was obtained by fraud or if the court was misled into granting same by concealing some vital information or facts. See Igwe v. Kalu (supra), Vulcan Gases Ltd v. G.F. Ind. AC (2001) 9 NWLR (pt.719) 610 at 644 – 645 paras H – A.

— J.I. Okoro JSC. Citec v. Francis (SC.116/2011, 21 February 2014)

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AS LONG AS A DECISION HAS NOT BEEN SET ASIDE, THE JUDGEMENT OF COURT MUST BE OBEYED

The point must be rammed home that an order issuing from any court, a fortiori an order of the Court of Appeal, the penultimate court in the judicial ladder, must be obeyed to the letters. It is of no moment that such order is wrongly made as long as it has not been set aside by an appellate court. Obedience to order of court is part and parcel of rule of law, which, in turn, is sina qua non for orderliness and development of democracy in any society. Contrariwise, disobedience of court order, as amply demonstrated by the respondent’s unrepentant conduct, is capable of igniting chaos and anarchy in any country. The respondent, erroneously, think that the court is a toothless bulldog which can bark without biting. By his aberrant desecration of the order of this court, made on 10/06/2010, he has insulted the law and he must incur its wrath.

— O. Ogbuinya, JCA. Ogunleye v. Aina (2012) – CA/IL/22/2011

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MATTERS TO BE DECIDED AT SUBSTANTIVE CASE SHOULD NOT BE COMMENTED ON AT THE PRELIMINARY

The law is settled that a court should not comment or decide at preliminary stage matters or issues which are supposed to be decided in the substantive case. See NWANKWO & ORS V YAR’ADUA & ORS (2010) LPELR-2109 (SC) at page 71 paras B-F per Coomassie JSC; and OCHOLI ENOJO JAMES, SAN V INEC & ORS (2015) LPELR-24494 (SC) at pg.92 para G, per Okoro JSC.

— K.M. Akano, J. Edeoga v Mbah (2023) – EPT/EN/GOV/01/2023

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SUPREME COURT IS MORE CONCERNED ABOUT THE DECISION, THAN REASON OF COURT OF APPEAL

Again for emphasis is that an appellate Court such as this Apex one, will not reverse the decision of the Court below simply because the conclusion and decision were reached from a wrong reason. This is so because once the decision is correct the wrong channel or route through which that decision was made would not scuttle the said conclusion. See The State v John Ogbubunjo (2001) 1 SCNJ 86 at 106 per Onu JSC. — M.U. Peter-Odili, JSC. Kwara Judicial Commission v Tolani (2019) – SC.63/2010

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APPELLATE COURT IS MORE CONCERNED WITH THE DECISION REACHED THAN THE REASONS GIVEN

It is the law that an appellate Court will not interfere once the conclusion reached by a trial Court is correct, since an appellate Court is more concerned with the conclusion reached than with the reason adduced, more so where as in the instant appeal the reason which is the pathway to the above correct conclusion or finding is also perfectly correct.

– B.A. Georgewill, JCA. Ganiyu v. Oshoakpemhe & Ors. (2021) – CA/B/12A/2021

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ONLY MATTERS DECIDED IN THE COURT OF APPEAL CAN BE ENTERTAINED BY THE SUPREME COURT

By canvassing in this court matters decided in the trial Court and not adverted to in the Court of Appeal, without leave having been obtained to argue matters not argued in the Court of Appeal, such matters or issues are incompetently before this court and will be discountenanced. This Court is only competent to entertain appeals from the Court of Appeal and not from any court below the Court of Appeal. Ogoyi v. Umagba (1995) 9 NWLR (Pt.419) 283, 293; Oduntan v. General Oil Ltd. (1995) 4 NWLR (Pt. 387) 1, 101. Similarly the appellate court will deal only with matters duly canvassed at the trial court and appealed against. The issues of fair-hearing or breach of Sections 20,21 and 22(6) of the Chiefs Law never came into argument at the trial Court nor at the Court of Appeal, and no leave having been obtained to argue them as novel issues not raised in the courts below, are not competent for argument in this court. There was no pronouncement on these issues at the trial court, and no appeal was lodged on this failure in the Court of Appeal, it is therefore incompetent in this court for the appellants to start raising issues of lack of fair hearing, or breach of natural justice in the conduct of investigation into the selection of Baale of Isundunrin. In the absence of a decision on a point, and that point has been canvassed at the trial court, the course open to the party aggrieved is to appeal against that non-decision. Saude v. Abdullahi (1989) 4 NWLR (Pt. 116) 387, 433, 434; Adesokan v. Adetunji (1994) 5 NWLR (Pt.346) 540, 575, 576.

— Belgore, JSC. Ogundare v Ogunlowo (1997) – SC.25/1994

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