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DECISION OF COURT WHICH APPEARS SUBSTANTIALLY REGULAR IS PRESUMED TO BE CORRECT

Dictum

The duty of every appellant is to show and or establish that the decision he has appealed was wrong or unreasonable. Every decision of a Court of law, a judicial act, done in a manner substantially regular is presumed to be correct and that formal requisites for its validity were complied with. The presumption of regularity under Section 167(1) of the Evidence Act, 2011 is all about this.

— E. Eko, JSC. Kassim v. State (2017) – SC.361/2015

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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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A COURT OF RECORDS HAS THE INHERENT POWERS TO SET ASIDE ITS DECISION WHERE

The Supreme Court, and any other superior court of record, possesses inherent power to set aside its judgment in appropriate cases. Such circumstances include: a. When the judgment is obtained by fraud or deceit b. When the judgment is a nullity and a person affected by the order is entitled ex debito justitiae to have it set aside. c. When the court was misled into giving judgment under the mistaken belief that the parties had consented to it. d. Where judgment was given in the absence of jurisdiction. e. Where the procedure adopted was such as to deprive the decision or judgment of the character of a legitimate adjudication. See: Adegoke Motors Ltd. v. Adesanya (1989) 3 NWLR (Pt.109) 250; A.D.H. Ltd. v. Amalgamated Trustees Ltd, (2007) ALL FWLR (Pt.392) 1781 @ 1840 C – F; Alao v. A.C.B. Ltd. (2000) FWLR (Pt. 11) 1858; (2000) 9 NWLR (Pt.672) 264; Igwe v. Kalu (2002) 14 NWLR (Pt.787) 435; Madukolu v. Nkemdilim (1962) SCNLR 341; Obimonure v. Erinosho (1966) All NLR 245.

— K.M.O. Kekere-Ekun JSC. Citec v. Francis (SC.116/2011, 21 February 2014)

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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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UNLESS DECISION IS PERVERSE, FINDING OF TRIAL COURT IS UPHELD

In Ebba vs. Ogodo (1984) 4 SC 372. The apex court had this to say:- “Unless the Court of Appeal finds that the decision is perverse, the Court of Appeal, whose opportunity is confined to printed record, is obliged to, and must accord to the finding of fact, by the trial court, the greatest weight and due respect.”

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WHEN THE SUPREME COURT WILL DEPART FROM HIS EARLIER DECISION

As departure from a decision of a court or overruling a decision of a court is a very major judicial exercise, which if done often will ruin or jeopardise the stable rules of judicial precedent, and particularly the rules of stare decisis, courts of law, even the highest court of the land, will not yield to the invitation of counsel just for the asking, in the sense that the case sought to be overruled is not in favour of the party. In asking for a case to be overruled, the party should take into account or consideration, the totality of the decision, meaning that the ratio decidendi must be considered along with the facts of the case. The party should also make a distinction, if any, in the case between a ratio decidendi and an obiter dictum. If a party’s worry is an obiter dictum, a court of law will not depart from its earlier judgment or overrule it because obiter does not ipso facto have or possess any force in the judgment. And when I say this I am not ignorant of the law that obiter dictum of this Court followed by this Court in certain instances could ripen into a ratio decidendi by frequent adoption.

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

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APPELLATE COURT IS ONLY CONCERNED WITH DECISION OF COURT NOT REASONS GIVEN

Ndayoko & Ors. V. Alhaji Dantoro & Ors (2004) 13 NWLR (Pt. 889) 187 @ p. 198, where Edozie JSC., had pronounced with finality on this vexed issue, thus: “An appellate Court is only concerned with whether the judgment appealed against is right or wrong not whether the reasons given are right or wrong. Where the judgment is right but the reasons given are wrong, the appellate Court does not interfere. It is only where the misdirection has caused the Court to come to a wrong conclusion that the appellate Court will interfere….”

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