*There was fundamental error in the lead judgement
Olugbense ruling house of Offa, Offa Local Government Area (LGA) of Kwara state has filed a motion brought under the inherent jurisdiction of Supreme Court seeking for an order of the apex court to set aside its judgment of 1st July 2016 on the footing that the court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the appeal.
Citing numerous dicta and supported by a 10 paragraph affidavit deposed to by Prince Abdulrauf Adegboyega Keji who is the Second Respondent/Applicant in the case coded SC/890/2014, the ruling house through its lead counsel Dayo Akinlaja (SAN) prayed the court to overrule itself by declaring the judgment Ipso Facto and a nullity.
Besides, it prayed for an order allowing instead the cross-appeal wherein the issue of jurisdiction was raised to the effect that the Counter-Claim was statute-barred at inception having regards to the provisions of the applicable Public Officers Protection Law (POPL).
The grounds for the application dated 15th June this year and filed the same day among others include but not restricted to such that:
- In the judgment of the apex Court delivered on the date aforementioned, the Court held that the Counter-Claim of the Appellant/Respondent was filed within three months of the accrual of the cause of action and so did not offend the POPL,
- The Court unequivocally held in the judgment that the cause of action arose on 22nd March 2010 while the Counter-claim was filed on the 12th July 2019, and
- By simple arithmetic calculation, March 22nd 2010 when the cause of action was held to have arisen to 12th July 2010 when the Counter-claim was found to have been filed by the Appellant /Respondent at the trial court was three months and 20 days, well over and above the three months prescribed by the POPL.
The ground added that the error in calculation inadvertently made by the Court in the lead judgment allegedly misled it to assume jurisdiction over the Counter-claim of the Appellant /Respondent, noting, “the concurring judgment did not detect this error in the lead judgment and unsuspectingly concurred with it.”
Besides, paragraph 9 of the affidavit added; “that I know as of fact that if not reversed, the inadvertent error of calculation made by this Honourable Court would occasion a perpetual and eternal miscarriage of justice to our ruling house whose right to ascend the throne of our forefathers in Offa as the male ruling house would be forever taken away from us.”
Other Respondents /Applicants for themselves and on behalf of the Olugbense Ruling House are; Alhaji Jimoh Abodunrin, Imam Bosere, Magaji and Head of Olugbense Ruling House, Offa and Prince Saka Keji.
The Respondents are; Alhaji Yunnus Bukoye, Essa of Offa, Alhaji Kadir Kolawole Bello, Ojomu of Offa, Alhaji Oseni Olaniyi, Balogun of Offa, Alhaji Zikrullah Kola Danni Olaboye, Shawo of Offa, Attorney General of Kwara state and the Governor of Kwara state.
The fulcrum of the issue for dermination is linked with the case of Oloba v. Akereja (1988) 7 S. C. [PT. 1] 1 at 14 and 15 where the Supreme Court espoused the monumental importance of Jurisdiction to adjudication in the following words:
“The issue of jurisdiction is very fundamental as it goes to the competence of the Court or tribunal. If a court or tribunal is not competent to entertain a matter or claim or suit, it is a waste of valuable time for the court to embark on the hearing and determination of the suit, matter or claim…. There is no justice in exercising jurisdiction where there is none. It is injustice to the law, to the court and to the parties so to do. ”
The Applicants here were the Claimants in the action instituted at the Offa Division of the High Court of Kwara State, challenging the appointment of the Appellant/Respondent as Olofa of Offa. There was a Counter-Claim filed by the Appellant /Respondent and 4th-7th Respondents herein in the said action. The Applicants lost the case at the High Court while the Counter-claim of the Appellant and 4th-7th Respondents herein was equally dismissed on the ground that it was caught by estoppel as well as Public Officers Protection Act.
At the Court of Appeal, The Appeal of the Applicants was allowed and all the reliefs sought by them were granted while the joint appeal of the Appellant and the 4th-7th Respondents herein based on their counter-claim was partially allowed by the lower Court which held that the cause of action was not caught by the Limitation Law but refused to consider the appeal on merit. The decision of the lower Court that the Counter Claim was not statute-barred led to the cross-appeal filed by the Applicants herein as the Cross-appellants.
The Supreme Court in the course of considering the appeal of the Cross-appellants (Instant Applicants ) and the Appellant herein in a single judgment delivered on July 1st 2016 held, inter alia, that it agreed that the cause of action arose on the 22nd day of March 2010 and that the Counter Claim filed on the 12th of July 2010 was not caught by the POPL as applicable in this case.