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JUDGEMENT OF COURT REMAINS VALID UNTIL SET ASIDE; COURT OF COORDINATE JURISDICTION CANNOT SET ASIDE COORDINATE COURT JUDGEMENT

Dictum

It is now settled firstly, that a judgment or order of a court of competent jurisdiction, remain valid and effective, unless it is set aside by an appeal court or by the lower court itself if it found that it acted without jurisdiction. See the cases of Ogueze v. Ojiako (1962),SCNLR 112; (1962) 11 All NLR 58 at 61; Williams v. Sanusi (1961) All NLR 334 at 337; Odiase v. Agbo (1972) 1 All NLR (Pt.1) 170 at 176; Melifonwu v. Egbuyi (1982) 9 SC 145; Ajao v. Alao (1986) 5 NWLR (Pt. 45) 802 at 823 and many others. Secondly, in the absence of statutory authority or except where the judgment or order is a nullity, one Judge, has no power, to set aside or vary the order of another Judge of concurrent and co-ordinate jurisdiction. See the cases of Amanabu v. Okafor (1966) 1 All NLR 205 at 207; Okorodudu v. Ejuetami (1967) NMLR 282 at 283; Akporue & Anor v. Okei (1973) 12 SC 137; Uku v. Okumagba (1974)1 All NLR (Pt. 1)475; Wimpey(Nig.)Ltd. v. Balogun (1986) 3 NWLR (Pt. 28) 324 at 331 and Orthopaedic Hospital Management Board v. B. B. Apugo & Sons Ltd. (1990) 1 NWLR (Pt.129) 652 at 657 just to mention but a few. The rationale or reason for this, is because, it is now firmly established that there is only one High Court in a State.

— I.F. Ogbuagu, JSC. Witt Ltd. v Dale Power (2007) – SC.240/2000

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NATURE OF A CONCURRING JUDGEMENT

In Ziakade Akpobolokemi v Capt. Emmanuel Iheanacho (2016) LPELR -40563(CA) thus: “A concurring judgment complements, edifies and adds to the leading judgment. It could at times be an improvement of the leading judgment when the justices add to it certain aspects which the writer of the leading judgment did not remember to deal with. In so far as a concurring judgment performs some or all the above functions, it has equal force with or as the leading judgment in so far as the principles of stare decisis are concerned.”

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EVERY JUDGEMENT TAKES EFFECT ON PRONOUNCEMENT

In the case of INTERCONTRACTORS NIGERIA LTD v. U.A.C. OF NIGERIA LTD (supra) or (1988) (Pt. 1) Vol. 9 NSCC 737 at 752. This court per KARIBI WHYTE JSC stated:- “It is well settled that every judgment takes effect on pronouncement – see BANK OF WEST AFRICA LTD v. N.I.P.C LTD [1962] LLR 31; OLAYINKA v. ELUSANMI [1971] 1 NMLR 277. A judgment debtor seeking to stay the execution must show that he is challenging the judgment, or is asking for time to comply with the terms of the judgment.”

— D. Musdapher JSC. M.O. Olatunji v. Owena Bank (PLC) & Anor. (SC.349/2002, 25 April 2008)

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COURT WOULD INTERFERE WHERE POWER IS EXERCISED ARBITRARILY

Congreve v. Home Office (1976) Q.B. 629. In that case, on January 29th 1975 the Home Secretary announced that the colour television licence fee would be increased from £12 to £18 on April 1st and made an order under section 2(1) of the Wireless and Telegraphic Act 1949 to effect the increase. The Home Secretary, in accordance with his administrative practice when an increase in the fee was imminent, prepared special instructions for its agents who included, post office counter clerks, telling them that anyone applying in advance for the renewal of a licence which did not expire until March 31st or later should be told to reapply on or before April 1. On March 26th, the plaintiff, whose current licence expired on March 31, applied to the post office for a £12 licence. The counter clerk did not follow the Home Office Instruction; she issued him with a £12 licence which on its face would not expire until February 29, 1976. Some 24,500 licence holders were likewise issued with overlapping licences before April 1. The Home Office wrote to each holder of a £12 overlapping licence stating that unless the additional £6 was paid the licence taken out in advance of April 1 would be revoked. The plaintiff did not pay and was one of those who received the letter dated 11th November 1975 which threatened that unless the £6 was paid by December 1, the overlapping licence would be revoked and prosecution for the use of colour television proceeded with. The plaintiff issued a special indorsed writ claiming a declaration that the revocation of his licence would be unlawful, invalid, and of no effect. The High Court refused to make the declaration holding that the Home Secretary was entitled to revoke a licence under section 1(4) of the Act of 1949 and that the Home Office letters gave the licence holder open choices. On appeal, the appeal was allowed, the Court of Appeal holding that although the Home Secretary has undoubted discretion under Section 1(4) of the Wireless and Telegraphic Act, 1949 to revoke a licence the discretion was fettered to the extent that the courts would intervene if it was exercised arbitrarily or improperly; and in view of the fact that the licence issued to the plaintiff was a valid licence on the day it was issued and that there was nothing in the Act or the Regulations which prohibited the holding of overlapping licences, it was an improper exercise of the Minister’s discretionary power to propose to revoke a licence validly obtained as a means of levying money which Parliament had given the Executive no authority to demand. Accordingly, the court could and should intervene to declare that the proposed revocation of the plaintiff’s licence was unlawful, invalid, and of no effect.

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IF THE JUDGEMENT OF A COURT IS CORRECT, IT WILL NOT BE REVERSED BECAUSE A WRONG LAW WAS RELIED UPON

Although the court below relied on the inapplicable 1990 Act or Law in arriving at its said decision, it is now firmly settled that what an appeal has to declare, is whether the decision of the court below, was/is right. If the judgment of a court is correct, it is not liable to reversal merely because it was anchored on a wrong reason or law. In other words, a mistake or error in a judgment, is immaterial provided it has not occasioned a miscarriage of justice. It is not every mistake or error in a judgment, that necessarily, determines an appeal in favour of an appellant. See the cases of Ayeni & 3 Ors. v. Sowemimo (1982) NSCC 104; (1982) 5 S.C. (Reprint) 29; Onajobi v. Olanipekun (1985) 4 S.C. (pt.2) 156 at 163 and Odukwe v. Mrs. Ogunbiyi (1998) 8 NWLR (Pt….) 339 at 351; (1998) 6 SCNJ. 102 at 113 just to mention a few.

— Ogbuagu, JSC. Grosvenor v Halaloui (2009) – SC.373/2002

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FINAL EXERCISE OF JUDGEMENT MUST INVOLVE CONSIDERATION OF ALL THE CORRESPONDENCE ON BOTH SIDES

The final exercise of judgment must of necessity involve a consideration of all the correspondence that is properly put in evidence by both sides, all the correspondence tendered in order to establish the case and all that produced in order to disprove the existence of a contract. It is only after such detailed consideration that a tribunal can fairly come to a conclusion as to whether or not the parties actually arrived at an agreement. See Thomas Hussey v. Horne-Payne (1879) 4 App. Cas. 311. The task of analysing the several letters and attempts to reconcile the one with the other is undoubtedly a very difficult one calling for the most serious examination of each and every one of several documents until the tribunal is able to say whether a contract is indeed established.

— Coker JSC. Shell Bp Petroleum Dev. Co. v. Jammal Engineering (Nigeria) Limited (1974)

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TRIAL JUDGE IMPORTED EQUITABLE CONSIDERATION INTO HIS JUDGEMENT

By importing equitable consideration into his judgment, the learned trial Judge by what I term judicial legislation threw overboard and or repealed Exhibit –D” which is the applicable customary law to the chieftaincy. The court does not have that power. The office of the judge is jus dicere, not jus dare. See Okumagba v. Egbe (1965) All NLR 62 at 67.

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

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