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COURT BASES HER DECISION ON FACTS ONLY

Dictum

The tribunal or court must base its conclusion on the facts before it and nothing but the facts. The tribunal or court cannot introduce facts not before it. The tribunal or court must confine itself to the facts before it. It has no jurisdiction to read into the Record facts not presented by the parties. It cannot also read out of the record facts presented by the parties. It seems I am repeating myself. Repetition is, at times, useful for emphasis and so be it.

— Niki Tobi, JSC. Buhari v. INEC (2008) – SC 51/2008

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WHAT IS A DECISION ON MERIT?

TOMTEC NIGERIA LIMITED VS FEDERAL HOUSING AUTHORITY (2009) 12 SCNJ 190 AT 201 -202 where this Court held “A decision on merit is one rendered after argument and investigation and a determination as to which of the parties is in the right as distinguished from a judgment or decision rendered upon some preliminary or formal part or by default and without trial”.

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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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DECISION OF COURT REMAINS VALID

A decision of a court (whether wrong or right) remains valid and subsisting until set aside by a court that has the jurisdiction to do so. – E.A. Agim, JCA. Ogidi v. Okoli [2014] – CA/AK/130/2012

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AN APPELLATE COURT IS ONLY INTERESTED IN THE CORRECTNESS OF THE DECISION, NOT THE REASON BY WHICH IT WAS REACHED

It is apposite to state here that it has been established by sufficient authority that an appellate Court is only interested in the correctness of a judgment/ruling or conclusion reached and not with the correctness of the reason by which the Court arrived at its decision, unless it has occasioned a miscarriage of justice, Taiwo and Ors v Sowemimo [1982] 5 SC 60, 74-75; Ibuluya v Dikibo [2011] 3 WRN 1, 23; Agbeje v Ajibola [2002] 2 NWLR (pt. 750) 127; Hillary Farms Ltd. v MV Mahtra[2007] 14 NWLR (pt. 1054) 210.

— C.C. Nweze, JSC. Uzoho v NCP (SC.141/2007, Friday, May 13, 2022)

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APPELLATE COURT IS CONCERNED MORE WITH THE DECISION REACHED, THAN REASON FOR DECISION

As rightly, submitted by learned counsel for the respondent, an appellate Court is more concerned with whether the decision reached by the lower Court is correct and not necessarily whether a wrong reason was given for reaching a right decision. See: Arisa Vs The State (1988) 3 NWLR (Pt. 83) 386; Ojengbede vs Esan & Anor. (2001) 18 NWLR (Pt. 746) 771. If the decision is right, it will be upheld notwithstanding the fact that a wrong reason was given for the decision. It is only where the misdirection has caused the Court to come to a wrong decision that it would be material. See: Oladele & Ors Vs Aromolaran II & Ors. (1996) 6 NWLR (Pt.453) 180.

— K.M.O. Kekere-Ekun, JSC. MTN v. Corporate (2019) – SC.674/2014

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WHAT MAKES A DECISION PERVERSE

In all then, a decision is said to be perverse: (a) When it runs counter to the evidence; or (b) Where it has been shown that the trial Court took into account matters which it ought not to have taken into account or shut its eyes to the obvious; or (c) When it has occasioned a miscarriage of justice.

– Chima Centus, JSC Dondos v. State (2021) – SC.905/2014

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