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Ode v. Balogun

ALHAJI SHIFAWU ODE

NURAINI SANUSI AKA

RAUFU ADEKUNLE

( For themselves and for and on behalf of Oke Branch  of Salawu Family)

V

PA A. K. BALOGUN

PROF. AJIBADE ROKOSU

ALH. R. A. SALAWE

ALH. MONSURU ALESHINLOYE

( For themselves and for and on behalf of Three Ruling

Houses namely: OKOYA, AGBAJE and ROKOSU of

Salawa Chieftaincy Family)

LAGOS ISLAND LOCAL GOVERNMENT

ATTORNEY-GENERAL FOR LAGOS STATE

COURT OF APPEAL

( LAGOS DIVISION )

GEORGE ADESOLA OGUNTADE, JCA ( Presided )

SULEIMAN GALADIMA, JCA

PIUS OLAYIWOLA ADEREMI, JCA ( Read the Lead Judgment )

CA/L/361/97

THURSDAY, 8TH JULY, 1999 

ACTION - Declaratory claim - What is

CHIEFTAINCY MATTERS - Standing Chieftaincy Tribunal of Inquiry Recommendations thereof crystallising into chieftaincy declaration to regulate succession into Salawe Chieftaincy Stool -  Action instituted in High Court to pronounce against - Whether an abuse of court process

CHIEFTAINCY MATTERS - Standing Chieftaincy Tribunal of Inquiry Decision or recommendation of - Whether a valid judgment - General nature of proceedings of such Tribunal

COURT - Abuse of court process - Duty of court to prevent

COURT - Declaratory relief - Exercise of jurisdiction to make - Whether an exception to the general principle that where the constitution has declared that the court cannot exercise jurisdiction any provision to the contrary is null and void

COURT - Declaratory judgment - Duty of court when exercising discretion to grant same

COURT - Discretion - Discretion of court to make declaratory relief  -

How exercised - Limitation thereto

COURT - Jurisdiction of to entertain a suit - What determines

COURT - Machinery of court - Duty of court to prevent improper use of as a means of vexation and oppression in the process of litigation

COURT - Process of court - Improper use of as a means of vexation and oppression in litigation process- Duty of court to prevent

COURT - Tribunal - Decision or recommendation of  - Whether a valid judgment

JUDGMENT AND ORDERS - Declaratory claim - Implication of

JUDGMENT AND ORDERS - Declaratory judgment - Duty of court when exercising discretion to grant

JUDGMENT AND ORDERS - Declaratory judgment - Nature of - When may be granted

JUDGMENT AND ORDERS - Tribunal - Decision or recommendation of -  Whether a valid judgment

JURISDICTION - Exercise of jurisdiction to make declaratory relief Whether an exception to the general principle that where the constitution has declared that the court cannot exercise jurisdiction any provision to the contrary is null and void

JURISDICTION - Jurisdiction of court to entertain a suit - What determines Issue:

Whether the High Court can exercise its declaratory jurisdiction in respect of a matter already decided by the Standing Chieftaincy Tribunal of Inquiry and will not amount to an abuse of the process of the court.

Facts:

The appellants and the first set of respondents made an application to the Lagos State Government requesting it to make a chieftaincy declaration that would regulate succession to the Salawe Chieftaincy Stool. A Chieftaincy Draft was thus approved and registered by the government which made provision for four (4) Ruling Houses. After services of claims and counterclaims from rival claimants to the Salawe Chieftaincy Stool, the government referred the matter to the Judicial Tribunal on chieftaincy matters for investigation and report. The Judicial Tribunal recommended the revocation of the 1986 Chieftaincy Declaration earlier promulgated on the Salawe Chieftaincy Title and concluded by recommending only two ruling houses for the stool which apparently subsumed or extinguished the respondents’ ruling houses. The above recommendation was however approved by the government.

The 1st - 4th respondents as plaintiffs filed an action at the trial court for declaratory reliefs. After the exchange of pleadings, the 1st - 3rd appellants as 1st - 3rd defendants at the trial court filed a preliminary objection on the ground that the action did not disclose reasonable cause of action. At the conclusion of hearing on the application, the trial court dismissed the application. Aggrieved the appellants therefore appealed to the Court of Appeal.