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OFFER & A COUNTEROFFER

Dictum

An offer must be unconditionally and unqualified by accepted. Any addition to or subtraction from the terms of the offer is an alteration to the terms and amounts to a total rejection of the offer by the offeree. The terms embedded in the rejection may form the basis for the formation of a new agreement. This is what amounts to a counter-offer. An offer is impliedly rejected if the offeree instead of accepting the original offer makes a counter-offer which varies the terms proposed by the offeror. Hyde v. Wrench (1840) 3 Kear. 334.

— Adekeye, JSC. Best Ltd. v. Blackwood Hodge (2011) – SC

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WHAT IS A FUNDAMENTAL TERM OF A CONTRACT

Niger Insurance Company Ltd v Abed Brothers Ltd & Anor (1976) LPELR-1995 (SC), thus:- “A fundamental term of a contract is a stipulation which the parties have agreed either expressly or by necessary implication or which the general law regards as a condition which goes to the root of the contract so that any breach of that term may at once and without further reference to the fact and circumstances be regarded by the innocent party as a fundamental breach and thus is conferred on him the alternative remedies at his option”.

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FOUR WAYS IN WHICH CONTRACT MAY BE DISCARDED

Now, it is settled that a valid contract may be discharged in any of the four ways namely: (a) by performance; or (b) by express agreement; or (c) by breach; or (d) by the doctrine of frustration. See Adedeji Vs Obajimi [2018] LPELR-33712(SC); Tsokwa Oil Marketing Company Vs B.O.N. Ltd [2002] 11 NWLR (Pt 777) 163.

— S.O. Adeniyi, J. Nwabueze v. ABU Zaria (2023) – NICN/KD/34/2021

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SUCCEEDING IN A BREACH OF CONTRACT

For a claimant to succeed in an action for breach of contract, he must establish not only that there was a breach but also that there was in existence an enforceable contract which was breached.

— Adekeye, JSC. Best Ltd. v. Blackwood Hodge (2011) – SC

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CONTRACT CREATES RECIPROCAL OBLIGATIONS

A contract is an agreement between two or more parties which creates reciprocal obligations to do or not to do a particular thing. Thus, for a valid contract to be formed, there must be mutuality of purpose and intention. In other words, the two or more minds must meet at the same point, event, or incident. They must not meet at different points, events or incidents. They must be saying the same thing at the same time. See ORIENT BANK (NIG) PLC V BILANTE INTERNATIONAL LTD (1997) 8 NWLR (pt. 515) 37.

— M.L. Shuaibu, JCA. Ekpo v GTB (2018) – CA/C/324/2013

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WHEN A CONTRACT OF SALE EXISTS

A contract of sale exists where there is a final and complete agreement of the parties on essential terms of the contract, namely the parties to the contract, the property to be sold, the consideration for the sale and the nature of the interest to be granted. Once there is agreement on these essential terms, a contract of sale of land or property is made and concluded. In a contract for sale of property, where part, payment was paid, the law is that the contract for purchase has been concluded and is final, leaving the payment of the balance outstanding to be paid, The contract for the sale and purchase is absolute and complete for which each party can be in breach for non-performance and for which an action can be maintained for specific performance.

— O.O. Adekeye, JSC. Mini Lodge v. Ngei (2009) – SC.231/2006

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SEVERAL PERSONS – ONLY THOSE WHO ENTER CONTRACT ARE LIABLE

In the case of Chief Olowofoyeku v. The Attorney-General of Oyo State (1990) 2 NWLR (Pt. 132) 369, cited by learned Senior Advocate for the appellants, the Court of Appeal correctly held that where an agreement is intended to be made by several persons jointly, if any of those persons failed to enter into the agreement, there is no contract, and liability is incurred by such of them as have entered into the agreement.

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