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His Highness V. A. Otitoju v. Governor Of Ondo State & Ors (1994)

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⦿ CASE SUMMARY OF:

His Highness V. A. Otitoju v. Governor Of Ondo State & Ors (1994) – SC

by PaulPipar

⦿ PARTIES

APPELLANT

His Highness V. A. Otitoju
(Olomuo-Oke of Omuo-Oke on behalf of himself and Omuo-Oke Community)

v.

RESPONDENTS

1. Governor Of Ondo State
2. Attorney-general Of Ondo State
3. Oba Abraham Fasiku (The Olomuo of Omuo for himself and the entire Omuo Community)

⦿ CITATION

(1994) 4 NWLR (Pt.340) 518;
(1994) All NLR 462;
(1994) 4 SCNJ 224;
(1994) LPELR-SC.269/1990;

⦿ COURT

Supreme Court

⦿ LEAD JUDGEMENT DELIVERED BY:

Kutigi, J.S.C.

⦿ LAWYERS WHO ADVOCATED

FOR THE APPELLANT

– Rotimi Jacobs, Esq.

FOR THE RESPONDENT

– Chief B. O. Benson. SAN

⦿ FACT

From the pleadings of the parties and the evidence led, briefly stated the plaintiff’s case was that Omuo-Oke was a distinct town in Ondo State with its own paramount chief in the person of the plaintiff himself.

According to the plaintiff the Western State Government in 1975 by Order published in the Gazette as Western State Legal Notice 31 of 1975. (W.S.L.N. 31 of 1975 for short) made the provisions of part II of the Chiefs Law applicable to the Olomuo-Oke of Omuo-Oke chieftaincy. By this Order the plaintiff said he became a paramount ruler of his community instead of a minor chief that he was. The Order took effect from 20th March, 1975. The Gazette Notice was tendered in evidence as Exhibit A.

Available:  Lawan Abdullahi Buba Wassah & Ors v. Tukshahe Kara & Ors. (2014) - SC

Later in 1976 the same Western State Government also approved the appointment of the plaintiff as the Olomuo-Oke of Omuo-Oke with effect from 10th March, 1976. The approval notice was also published in the Gazette as the Western State Notice No. 183. It was Exhibit B in the proceedings. The plaintiff also tendered various documentary exhibits on the traditional history of Omuo-Oke to show that it is a distinct and separate town in Ondo State.

The defendants’ version on the other hand was that Omuo-Oke has no separate existence from Omuo and that there were no natural features demarcating it as such. That Omuo-Oke was just one of the quarters under Omuo. It was also the defendants’ case that although the Olomuo-Oke as a minor chief was recognised in 1975 as per Exhibit A, and that plaintiff’s appointment was also recognised as such in 1976 as per Exhibit B, the plaintiff had along with some other recognised chiefs in Ondo State been de-recognised as per Western State Legal Notice No.6 of 1976 (W.S.L.N. 6 0f 1976) and the Ondo State Legal Notice 23 of 1979 (O.D.S.L.N. 23 of 1979).

Available:  Awojugbagbe Light Industries Limited v. P. N. Chinukwe & Anor. (1995)

Both the two legal notices were given the same commencement date of 5th February, 1976.
They therefore took effect before the recognition of the appellant as a chief as per Exhibit B which took effect from 10th March, 1976.

The High Court dismissed the claim of the plaintiff. The plaintiff then appealed, their appeal was quashed by the Court of Appeal. Hence, the plaintiff, herein as appellant, has appealed to Supreme Court.

Available:  Andrew Nweke Okonkwo v. Cooperative & Commerce Bank (Nigeria) Plc & Ors.(2003) - SC

⦿ ISSUE

1. Whether Omuo-oke is a distinct town separate from and not forming part of Omuo town.

⦿ HOLDING & RATIO DECIDENDI

APPEAL DISMISSED

1. The Supreme Court upheld the judgement of the Court of Appeal that it is not a distinct town.

⦿ REFERENCED

⦿ SOME PROVISIONS

⦿ NOTABLE DICTA

The question therefore of anyone being literate or illiterate cannot be presumed by the Court but is a matter to be established by evidence. – Kutigi, JSC. His Highness V. A. Otitoju v. Governor Of Ondo State & Ors (1994)

It is settled that when two courts have examined issues of fact and made concurrent findings, the Supreme Court in the absence of error on the face of the record occasioning a miscarriage of justice will not dismiss those findings. – Kutigi, JSC. His Highness V. A. Otitoju v. Governor Of Ondo State & Ors (1994)

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