➥ CASE SUMMARY OF:
Aragbiji of Iragbiji Oba Rasheed Ayotunde Olabomi & Anor. v. Olabode Oyewinle & Ors. (2013) – SC
by PipAr Chima
Supreme Court – SC.345/2012
➥ JUDGEMENT DELIVERED ON:
Friday, the 19th day of July, 2013
➥ AREA(S) OF LAW
Stay of execution;
➥ NOTABLE DICTA
⦿ NATURE OF A DECLARATORY JUDGMENT
A Declaratory judgment or order is one that proclaims or declares the existence of a legal relationship, but does not contain any order which may be enforced against the defendant. Once rights declared in a declaratory judgment are infringed fresh proceedings are needed for enforcement. Declaratory judgments cannot be enforced by execution, as there is nothing to enforce. So where a court delivers a declaratory judgment, the party appealing may be granted an injunction if he deserves it but never a stay of execution pending the determination of the appeal. – Rhodes-Vivour, JSC.
⦿ WHAT IS AN EXECUTORY JUDGMENT
An executory judgment or order is one that states the respective rights of the parties and goes the extra mile to order the defendant to act in a particular way or refrain from interfering with the plaintiffs’ rights, e.g. to pay damages or as in this case to stop parading himself as the Eesa of Iragbiji. – Rhodes-Vivour, JSC.
⦿ JURISDICTION IS A THRESHOLD MATTER
Jurisdiction is a threshold matter. Once raised all proceedings abate until it is resolved. Proceedings conducted without jurisdiction amount to a nullity. There is nothing as useless as conducting a trial flawlessly only to find out that the court had no jurisdiction to hear the matter. That explains why the issue of jurisdiction can be taken at any stage of the proceedings, at trial, on appeal and even in the Supreme Court for the first time. – Rhodes-Vivour, JSC.
➥ LEAD JUDGEMENT DELIVERED BY:
Bode Rhodes-Vivour, J.S.C.
⦿ FOR THE APPELLANT
Prof. W. Egbewole.
⦿ FOR THE RESPONDENT
Mr. B. Abdul-Raheem; for 1st Respondent.
Mr. W. Adejumobi, for 2nd Respondent.
➥ CASE HISTORY
On the 7th day of January, 1992 the 2nd defendant/2nd appellant/applicant, Mr. Muraina Oyelami was confirmed by the Boripe Local Government (in Osun State) as the Eesa of Iragbiji. Dissatisfied, the plaintiff/1st respondent, Mr. Olabode Oyewole who was, and is still of the view that he is the rightful person to be confirmed as the Eesa of Iragbiji filed a suit wherein he claimed against the defendants/appellants/applicants jointly and severally:- 1. Declaration that the 2nd defendant not being a member of Eesa family Ruling house of Iragbiji cannot lawfully hold the title of Eesa chieftaincy of Iragbiji.
An Ikirun High Court in Osun State presided over by R.O. Yusuf, J. dismissed all the claims.
On Appeal, the Court of Appeal overturned the judgment.
The appellants/applicants Motion on Notice filed on the 31st day of August 2012 and brought under sections 22 and 24 of the Supreme Court Act, Cap 15 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, Order 2 Rule 28(1) of the Supreme Court Rules 1985 and under the inherent jurisdiction of this Court is for:- 1. AN ORDER of this Honourable Court staying the execution of the judgment of the court below delivered on the 25th day of June, 2012 pending the hearing and determination of the appellants/applicants appeal before this Honourable court.
➥ ISSUE(S) & RESOLUTION
[APPEAL: APPLICATION ALLOWED]
I. Whether the appellants/applicants are entitled to an order for stay of execution of the judgment of the Court of Appeal pending the outcome of their appeal to this Court?
RULING: IN APPELLANT’S FAVOUR.
A. A careful reading of the Chiefs Law (supra) reveals how disputes are resolved in the appointment of a minor chief. There is no mention of the courts. Section 22 (supra) thus raises a strong case for jurisdiction. Jurisdiction amounts to special circumstances. A prima facie case of jurisdiction is a substantial or exceptional reason to justify the grant of a stay of execution. I do not propose in the circumstances to say more than that the issue of jurisdiction is worth considering and determined once and for all.
B. By section 24 of the Supreme Court Act, this court may order a stay of execution either unconditionally or upon the performance of such conditions as may be imposed in accordance with the rules of court. So once, as in this case, this court is satisfied that it has become necessary in determining the real question in controversy it can make ANY order to achieve that purpose. Ground 7 in the Notice of Appeal complains of lack of jurisdiction of both courts below to hear this case and it prima facie appears so, it becomes mandatory that this court ensures that parties remain in status quo ante bellum until the issue of jurisdiction and/or the substantive appeal is resolved. Accordingly an order to stay injunction granted by the Court of Appeal is hereby ordered.
➥ MISCELLANEOUS POINTS
➥ REFERENCED (STATUTE)
Subsections (2), (3) and (4) of section 22 of Part 3 of the Chiefs Law of Oyo State, Cap 28 applicable in Osun State.
➥ REFERENCED (CASE)
⦿ EASY WAY TO IDENTIFY A GROUND OF FACT FROM A GROUND OF LAW
In Enterprise Bank Ltd. v. Deaconess F. Bose Aroso & 5 ors. Suit No.166/2003 judgment delivered on the 12th of April, 2013: “Before making the distinction between grounds of law, mixed law and facts, and facts, first of all read carefully the ground of appeal and its particulars to understand thoroughly the substance of the complaint. Find out if the ground of appeal contests facts. If it does it can only be a ground of facts or mixed law and facts. Once facts are not in dispute. That is to say facts are settled, a ground of appeal can never be on facts or mixed law and facts. The ground of appeal can only complain of the wrong application of the law to settled facts and that is a ground of law. It is very easy to identify a ground of appeal on facts.”
➥ REFERENCED (OTHERS)