LawGlobal Hub

LawGlobal Hub

LawGlobal Hub

Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors
Home » Nigerian Cases » Supreme Court » Alhaji Adebayo Akande V. Jimoh Adisa & Anor (2012) LLJR-SC

Alhaji Adebayo Akande V. Jimoh Adisa & Anor (2012) LLJR-SC

Alhaji Adebayo Akande V. Jimoh Adisa & Anor (2012)

LAWGLOBAL HUB Lead Judgment Report

IBRAHIM TANKO MUHAMMAD, J.S.C.

The appellant, herein, as plaintiff at the High Court of Kwara State (trial court), holden at Ilorin, took out a writ of summon, claiming some declaratory reliefs against the respondents herein, as defendants. The plaintiff’s statement of claim contains the reliefs sought as follows:

“12. Wherefore the plaintiff prays for:

i. a declaration that he is the Alagar of Agar

ii. a declaration that the 1st defendant is not the Alagar of Agar in that he is not appointable since he is not a member of Abdul Salami family of Agar and (ii) his appointer has no power to appoint an Alagar and;

iii. a perpetual injunction prohibiting the 1st defendant from parading himself as the Alagar and the 2nd defendant from so treating him.”

In their respective statements of defence, both the 1st and 2nd respondents, as defendants, at the trial court, denied the claims of the appellant. Full trial including addresses by the parties were taken by the trial court. At the conclusion of hearing, the learned trial judge delivered his judgment on 11/7/2002 wherein he made a finding that the plaintiff had failed to establish a credible case to entitle him have the declarations sought. He accordingly dismissed the plaintiff’s action.

Dissatisfied, the plaintiff appealed to the Court of Appeal, Ilorin Division (the court below). After having reviewed the proceedings of the trial court, counsel’s submissions and the prevailing law, the court below dismissed the appeal.

Dissatisfied further the plaintiff/appellant appealed to this court on four grounds of appeal urging this court to allow his appeal.

Briefs were filed by the parties. On the hearing date, learned counsel for the appellant adopted his brief of argument and urged us to allow the appeal. Learned counsel for the 1st respondent adopted the brief filed on behalf of the 1st respondent. He urged this court to dismiss the appeal.

The issues formulated by the learned counsel for the appellant read as follows:

i. “Did it matter whether a court or a defendant understood the plaintiff’s case or not (Ground 1)

ii. Did the plaintiff plead any native law and custom or procedure for appointing an Alagar (Ground 2)

iii.Was it necessary for the plaintiff to produce any evidence of procedure for appointing an Alagar of Agar (Ground 3) and

iv. Was it right of the Court of Appeal to have affirmed the trial High Court judgment (Ground 4)”

Learned counsel for the 1st respondent formulated his issues as follows:

  1. “whether the court below was right to have held that the plaintiff did not prove his claim before the trial court and whether it was right to have held that if the totality of the evidence adduced by both parties should be put on an imaginary scale, the evidence of the respondents and their witnesses will be heavier than those adduced by the appellant and his lone witness.
  2. Whether the court below was right to have affirmed the decision of the trial court.”

Learned counsel for the 2nd respondent as well, formulated his issues as follows:

  1. “whether the plaintiff has been able to properly establish a case if any against the defendants before the trial court to warrant any judgment in his favour.
  2. Whether the Court of Appeal was right to have unanimously affirmed the decision of the trial court by dismissing the appellant’s appeals with cost.”

In his brief of argument, the learned counsel for the appellant, submitted on issue No.1 that the trial court did not understand the case which led the learned trial judge to dismiss the plaintiff’s case. If he did so, he would, instead of dismissing the plaintiff’s case, have struck out 3rd relief as the two offices of Alagar of Agar and Alangua of Agar were separate and distinct. Learned counsel submitted that in Agar, the Colonial Masters created separate administrative office holders i.e. Alangua, in contradistinction to many parts of the Northern Nigeria which experienced the introduction of Indirect Rule by the Colonial Masters. Learned counsel referred this court to Chiefs (Appointment and Deposition Law) and to the Native Authority Law (unspecified). He argued further that the respondents overlooked the fact that there was a world of difference between the traditional Yoruba office of Alagar and the Fulani/Hausa administrative office of Alangua which misconception is most unjustifiable and cannot be justified. He stated further, that Order 25 Rule 14(1) of the Kwara State High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules, 1989, is ignored by the defendants’ statement of defence. He urged this court to answer issue No.1 in the positive and to allow ground 1 on which it has been pivoted.

Issue No.2 is related to ground of appeal No. 2. Learned counsel drew our attention to paragraphs 8 and 10 of the Statement of Claim which constitute the Agar Native Law and custom for the appointment of the Yoruba traditional office of Alagar. That the claim at page 94 line 41 – page 95 line 1 of the record is totally misconceived. The plaintiff’s pleading and evidence are more than adequate to sustain the plaintiff’s case. He urged this court to hold that issue No.2 was sustainable and to allow ground 2 on which the issue has been pivoted.

Appellant’s issue No.3 is related to ground of Appeal No.3. Learned counsel for the appellant submitted that it was not necessary for the plaintiff to do more than he did in his evidence and that of his lone witness and that both the pleading and the evidence of PW1 and PW2 were adequate. The cross-examination by the counsel for the 2nd defendant filled any gap if any. He urged us to answer issue 3 in the negative.

In making his submission on issue 4, the learned counsel for the appellant argued that the learned trial judge did not meticulously consider the case of each side and that the learned trial judge had gone out of his normal course to arrive at his conclusions by holding that the two offices of Alagar and Alangua were the same and he contradicted himself both left and right. He ought to have given judgment in favour of the plaintiff as prayed. The Court of Appeal, learned counsel contended further, gravely erred in affirming the most perverse judgment of the High Court. He urged us to answer issue No.4 in the negative and to allow ground 4 on which the issue has been pivoted.

In his submission, the Learned senior counsel for the 1st respondent cited the provision of section 135 of the Evidence Act in support of the trite position of the law that the burden of proof in a suit or proceeding lies on that person who would fail if no evidence at all were given on either side. He submitted that the court below affirmed the decision of the learned trial judge showing instances where the plaintiff failed to establish a credible case to entitle him have the declaration he sought. That the court below held that the appellant did not plead any native law and custom or the tradition and procedure for appointing an Alagar and that he did not adduce any evidence of any procedure to be followed in appointing an Alagar or of compliance with such a procedure. The learned SAN cited and relied on the case of Olaiya v. Olaiya & Ors (2002) 8 NWLR (Pt.782) 652 at p.664. He argued further that the appellant having claimed to be the head of Agar Village the burden rests squarely on him to prove that he was entitled to the throne which burden he woefully failed to discharge. The learned SAN argued further that the learned trial judge’s decision was reasonably founded on the evidence adduced before the court. In urging us to resolve this issue in favour of the 1st respondent, the learned SAN submitted that the totality of evidence adduced by the appellant as plaintiff before the trial court is not sufficient to sustain his claim or earn him the reliefs sought from the court.

It was argued for the 1st respondent on issue two that the Court of Appeal was right to have affirmed the decision of the trial court. The learned trial judge meticulously considered the case of each party with their pleadings and evidence before he delivered the considered judgment. The Court of Appeal scrutinized the pleadings and evidence before the trial court before affirming the trial court’s decision. It is not the business or function of an appellate court to re-try a case particularly where there was evidence before the trial court from which its findings can reasonably be supported. The case of Layinka & Anor v. Makinde & Ors (2002) 10 NWLR (Pt.775) 358 at 375 was cited in support. It is submitted further that the settled principle of law is that the finding of a trial court ought not to be disturbed unless such finding is perverse. Several cases were cited e.g. Anegbogu & Ors v. Uchejigbo (2003) 10 NWLR (Pt.776) 492; Odusoye v. The Military Governor of Ogun State & Ors (2002) 10 NWLR (Pt.776) 566.

See also  Chief Oyelakin Balogun Vs Moses Olayioye Adedosu Adejobi & Anor (1995) LLJR-SC

The learned SAN submitted that the appellant has failed to establish that the findings of the two lower courts have led to a miscarriage of justice or that there has been a violation of some principles of law or procedure or a substantial error or that the findings are perverse. The concurrent findings of the two lower courts cannot therefore, be easily disturbed. Okpala Ezeokonkwo & Ors v. Nwafor Okeke & Ors (2002) 11 NWLR (Pt.777) 1 at p.28; Onwuama v. Ezeokoli (2002) 5 NWLR (Pt.760) 353 at 366, were, among others, cited in support. This court is urged to resolve this issue in favour of the 1st respondent and to finally, dismiss this appeal.

The learned counsel for the 2nd respondent made submissions on all the issues which are almost at per with the submissions made by the learned SAN for the 1st respondent. So, I will only re-produce such arguments as appear to elucidate on some points contemplated by the issues formulated. Learned counsel argued that it is pertinent to note that the plaintiff and the only witness called by him testified to the effect that Abdul Salami Ruling House is the Sole Ruling House in Agar. This piece of evidence needs to be established by cogent, sufficient and compelling evidence as required by law in proof of traditional history which the plaintiff failed to establish. That question of native law and custom is a question to be proved by evidence and the burden is on he who asserts. The case of Giwa v. Erinminlokun (1961) 1 All NLR 296 was cited. The learned counsel submitted further that since the appellant failed to show by evidence how he ascended the throne of Alaga of Agar in accordance with Agar native law and custom it only leads to one conclusion that neither the trial court nor the Appeal Court is in a position to manufacture evidence in support of the appellant’s case. So, the trial court rightly dismissed same and was equally affirmed by the Court of Appeal. He cited and relied on the case of Fabian Onyejekwe & Ors v. Obiora Onyejekwe (1999) 3 SCNJ 63 at 72. That a plaintiff must succeed on the strength of his case not by the weakness of the defence. Oyinloye v. Esinkin & Ors. (1999) 6 SCNJ 278 at 288.

The learned counsel for the 2nd respondent cited paragraph 1 of the plaintiff’s statement of claim where the plaintiff claimed that he has been the Alagar of Agar for quite sometime. Learned counsel stated that this fact needs to be substantiated with both oral and documentary evidence since the failure or success of his case is basically premised on same. Learned counsel urged this court to resolve this issue in favour of the respondents.

Issue No.2 is on whether the Court of Appeal was right to have unanimously affirmed the decision of the trial court. Learned counsel answered it in the affirmative adding that the Court of Appeal found no difficulty in affirming the judgment of the learned trial judge in the absence of any substantive or procedural error that may be said to lead to a miscarriage of justice. The case of Layinka v. Makinde (supra) is cited in support. Learned counsel submitted that appellant’s arguments as contained in his brief can be said to be more of academic exercise trying to demonstrate something unfounded, baseless and or rootless. He submitted that by whatever title called either Alagar of Agar or Alangua of Agar, it means a village head and urged this court to take judicial notice that only a person at a time can be appointed and addressed as a village head of a particular village. That the terms Alagar or Alangua of Agar are separate and distinct as argued by learned counsel for the appellant should be discountenanced. This court is finally urged to dismiss the appeal before it.

Reply briefs were subsequently filed by the learned counsel for the appellant in answer to new points of law raised by both the 1st and 2nd respondents in their respective briefs of argument. In both replies, one filed on 1/11/2004 and the other filed on 13/3/2006, none has specified the new points of law being replied. The replies are just a repetition of what has already been submitted in the main appellant’s brief. As far as I am concerned, none of the replies is worthy of a judicious consideration and are both, hereby, discountenanced. I will adopt the issues formulated by the learned SAN for the 1st respondent in treating this appeal, the 2nd respondent’s issues are a replica of the 1st respondent’s issues. The issues are comprehensive enough and cover adequately, all the issues raised by the learned counsel for the appellant.

l think my spring board in starting the consideration of this appeal is to have recourse to the provisions of sections 135 – 137 of the Evidence Act, Cap 112 LFN, 1990 (Now Cap. E14 LFN, 2004).

“135. (1) whoever desires any court to give judgment as to any legal right or liability dependent on the existence of facts which he asserts must prove that those facts exist.

  1. The burden of proof in a suit or proceeding lies on that person who would fail if no evidence at all were given on either side.
  2. (1) In civil cases the burden of first proving the existence or non-existence of a fact lies on the party against whom the judgment of the court would be given if no evidence were produced on either side, regard being had to any presumption that may arise on the pleadings.”

By the above provisions therefore, it is the requirement of the law that he who asserts, must prove.

In all civil matters, the proof rests squarely on the person who approaches the court (plaintiff) praying that his legal right, which he claims from somebody (defendant) should be restored to him.

In our adversarial system of adjudication, it is the practice and the law that the plaintiff should first lay his complaints before the court by filing his pleadings. Next is that, where issues have been joined with him by the defendant, then he shall go ahead to call evidence to establish each and everyone of the averments and the evidence must tally. They go together. They are inseparable twins. They either survive together or perish together. Where there is an averment which has no corresponding evidence, it is deemed abandoned. Where there is evidence but there is no supporting averments, it is a worthless evidence. See: Bamgbegbin v. Oriare (2009) 13 NWLR (Pt.1158) 370; Ojukwu v. Yar’adua (2009) 12 NWLR (Pt.1154) 50; Oseni v. Bajulu (2009) 18 NWLR (Pt.1172) 164.

In a bid to succeed the appellant/plaintiff, in his statement of claim, averred as follows:

“1. The plaintiff has been the Alagar of Agar for quite some time.

  1. No Emir of Ilorin has ever appointed an Alagar or rejected an appointment made by the Abdul Salami family of Agar.
  2. The Ilorin Emirate Council is a Child of the Local Government Edict No.8 of 1976 and has never appointed an Alagar of Agar.
  3. Whoever the Abdul Salami family appointed as the Alagar was normally used by the Local Government as its tax collection agent to collect community taxes.
  4. The two functions are separate and distinct but are normally combined for administrative purposes.”
See also  Alhaja Barakat Alafia & Ors V. Gbode Ventures Nigeria Limited & Ors (2016) LLJR-SC

In reply to the above averments, the 1st defendant/1st respondent stated, inter-alia:

“2. The 1st defendant denies paragraphs 1, 2, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 of the statement of claim and put the plaintiff to the strictest proof thereof.

  1. In particular answer to paragraph 1 the 1st defendant states that the plaintiff had never been the Alangwa of Agar at any time before or now. The 1st defendant will at the trial of this suit relate the history of Alangwa chieftaincy title and that neither the plaintiff nor his predecessors were entitled to the Alangwa stool.
  2. In denying paragraph 8 of the statement of claim the 1st defendant states that in no time had Abdul Salami family (which does not exist as a ruling family) appointed the Alangwa of Agar since the town was founded talkless of presenting an appointee to the Emir of Ilorin for his blessing or turbaning.
  3. The 1st defendant avers that as a matter of custom and tradition of Agar, the Alangwa is appointed by Ibrahim Lawal the only ruling family and blessed by the Ilorin Emirate Council. The 1st defendant will lead evidence on the 1st to the last Alangwa of Agar and the role of the Ilorin Emirate Council to date in their history.
  4. In further answer to paragraph 10 of statement of claim, the 1st defendant states that the only ruling family in Agar as at Today, is the Ibrahim Lawal family who has the duty of selecting and appointing a new Alangwa at the demise of the other and that Abdul Salami ruling family does not exist in Agar.
  5. The 1st defendant avers that his appointment was according to custom and tradition of Agar and as such was duly appointed and blessed by the Ilorin Emirate Council accordingly.”

The 2nd defendant/respondent, in his statement of defence, averred equally, as follows:

“2. The 2nd defendant denies paragraphs 1, 2, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 of the statement of claim and put the plaintiff to the strictest proof thereof.

  1. In particular answer to paragraph 1 of the statement of claim the 2nd defendant states that the plaintiff had never been the Alangua of Agar at any time before or now as he has never been presented for blessing. The 2nd defendant will at the trial of this suit relate history of Alangua Chieftaincy title and the plaintiff nor his predecessors has ever been presented for blessing or turbaning.
  2. The 2nd defendant denies paragraph 2 and states that the Alangua chieftaincy title is never subject of his prerogative but of Ibrahim Lawal ruling family who had the appointment/selection power since the founding of Agar.
  3. The 2nd defendant will trace the origin and capacity of his role in the Alangua titleship at the trial of this suit.
  4. In denying paragraph 7 of the statement of claim, the 2nd defendant avers that his role in the appointment of an Alangua of Agar is that of blessing/turbaning after the Alangua must have been appointed by the only recognized ruling family of Ibrahim Lawal.
  5. That the turbaning ceremony the 2nd defendant performs only signifies blessing and that the paramount validity of the appointment lies in the Ibrahim Lawal family which does same according to custom and tradition of Agar.
  6. In denying paragraph 8 of the statement of claim the 2nd defendant states that at no time in the history of Agar and Alangua titleship has Abdul Salami family presented any appointee for blessing or turbaning.
  7. The 2nd defendant avers that in the history of Agar and Alangua titleship the Ilorin Emirate Council has been acting in the capacity of blessing an Alangua of Agar after due appointment by Ibrahim Lawal ruling family the only ruling family recognized at Agar since the founding of Agar. The 2nd defendant will lead evidence on the role of the Ilorin Emirate Council till date from the time Agar was founded.
  8. In further answer to paragraph 10 of the statement of claim the 2nd defendant avers that the plaintiff’s family refuse to surrender their tax to the Alangua duly appointed by lbrahim Lawal family and blessed by him and directly pay to the Local Government.
  9. The 2nd defendant avers that the 1st defendant is the duly appointed Alagua of Agar having been appointed so by Ibrahim Lawal ruling family after the death of Memudu Ayinla in 1998.
  10. The 2nd defendant will contend at the trial of this suit that there is no Alangua appointed from the family of the plaintiff and blessed by the Ilorin Emirate Council.
  11. The 2nd defendant avers that the appointment of the 1st defendant was according to custom and tradition of Agar and was accordingly blessed by his council.
  12. The 2nd defendant will also lead evidence to show that the 1st defendant was duly recognized by all and sundry in Agar and its environs.
  13. The 2nd defendant pleads relevant document especially the letter of recognition of the 1st defendant by the Ilorin Emirate Council.
  14. The 2nd defendant denies paragraph 12 and replies that the 1st defendant is the duly elected Alangua of Agar having been recognized by his people and the Ilorin Emirate Council.”

The suit proceeded to full trial. Both sides called evidence in support of their pleadings. At the end of trial, the learned trial judge made his findings and held as follows:

“it appears from the pleadings and the evidence that there is some seeming confusion about the titles interchangeably used in this case. The titles are Alagar of Agar. Alangwa or Alangua of Agar, and, village Head. Alagar of Agar is the Yoruba version of the Fulani title viz Alangua or Alangwa. The two titles are synonymous with the headship of the community. The first appears traditional while the second is an administrative coinage but the two titles never co-exist at Agar. In any case, both Alagar and the Alangua must need be turbaned by the Emir to be recognized as validly appointed. Being in control or in charge of affairs in the village is the essence of the headship and, there always must be a head of the village or community.

I find that in this case Alangwa in Hausa/Fulani means the village head.

In the instant case, the plaintiff claims that he is appointed as the Alagar of Agar by his family while the defendants deny the existence of such an appointment saying that it was he the 1st defendant who was appointed the Alangwa of Agar (Village Head) as shown by Exhibits D1 and D2 written by the Emirate Council and the Moro Local Government respectively. There is nothing to show that the Local Government gave the plaintiff’s appointment its blessing. It is not seriously disputed that Alangwa (village head, Daudu (District Head) and Emir are titles commonly used in Moro Local Government. There is no disputing it that both the plaintiff and the 1st defendant are maternally related by blood and that they are both Egba settlers from Abeokuta at Agar a Yoruba community using Fulani titles. Without any challenge, evidence was given of past Alangwas and that one Ibrahim Lawani was a past Alangwa with his house becoming the only (sole) Alangwa Ruling House. Also without any challenges, the names of the past Alangwa is said to have control over Mogajis who head smaller neighbouring communities and in the case of Agar, there are 17 such communities under Agar. Agar is in Malete District under the control of the Daudu (District Head) of Malete accountable to the Emir of Ilorin. From the evidence, this is the established hierarchy of command (rulership) applicable to Agar. There is no challenge to this vital evidence which complies with pleadings and I believe it. See Egbunike v. A.C.B. Ltd. (1995) 22 NWLR (Pt.375) 526 at 540.

The plaintiff, according to the evidence, was selected or (if you like) appointed by his family as the Alagar of Agar. He did not plead any native law and custom or tradition and procedure for appointing an Alagar and did not adduce any evidence of any such procedure and compliance therewith. Neither was the plaintiff shown to the 17 communities under Agar as proffered in evidence nor was he taken before the District Head of Malete nor was he taken before the Emir of Ilorin for turbaning. There is no evidence that the Moro Local Government was also informed of the plaintiff’s appointment talkless of the Local Government approving or blessing his appointment as the Alagar of Agar. He did not say when he was appointed i.e. the day, the month and the year.

See also  Aminu Sunmonu Bamishebi & Ors V Zaccheus Faleye & Ors (1987) LLJR-SC

It is essential that in a case like this, the plaintiff has to plead and lead evidence in support of such facts as the history, native law and custom or tradition and procedure governing the appointment to the traditional stool of Alagar. It is not sufficient to make very bare assertion. The failure to plead the essential relevant facts is fatal to the case of the plaintiff.

For the plaintiff to succeed in seeking this chieftaincy declaration that he was validly nominated and appointed in accordance with the native law and custom relating to Alagar of Agar chieftaincy, the onus is on him to plead and give evidence in line with his pleadings to prove that he was validly nominated and appointed. See Giwa v. Erinmilokun (1961) 1 All NLR 296; Adeyeri v. Atanda (1995) 5 SCNJ 175; Adedeji Jokanola v. Military Governor of Oyo State (1996) 5 SCNJ 99 and Balogun v. Labiran (1988) 3 NWLR (Pt.80) 66.

Interestingly, both sides agree the turbaning by the Emir of Ilorin of any one appointed as the head of Agar is a necessity. In a situation where the evidence of the adversary favours or supports that of his opponent, any such admission against interest only strengthens the latter’s position. See Adeyeye v. Ajiboye (1987) 7 SCNJ 1; Ekretsu v. Oyobebere (1992) 9 NWLR (Pt.266) 438 at 462 – 463 and Kimdey & Ors v. Governor of Gongola State (1988) 5 SCNJ 28 holding 4.

In this case, the plaintiff has failed to establish a credible case to entitle him have the declarations sought. As for the third claim of perpetual injunction, the 1st defendant has not claimed to be appointed as the Alagar of Agar. The plaintiff has failed to show that the 1st defendant holds himself out to be so appointed. The 2nd defendant was not shown by evidence to have appointed or turbaned the 1st defendant as the Alagar of Agar. An injunction, in the circumstance of this case is, unwarranted.

Consequently, this action is, accordingly, dismissed.”

In affirming the decision of the trial court, the court below held inter alia:

“From all these, it is obvious that if the totality of the evidence adduced by both parties should be put on an imaginary scale, the evidence adduced by the appellant and his witness on one side of the scale, and that of the respondents and their witnesses on the other side, and weighed, the evidence of the respondents will be heavier. I agree therefore with the learned trial judge that:

‘In this case, the plaintiff has failed to establish a credible case to entitle him have the declarations sought. As for the third claim of perpetual injunction, the 1st defendant has not claimed to be appointed as the Alagar of Agar. The plaintiff has failed to show that the 1st defendant holds himself out as to be so appointed. The 2nd defendant was not shown by evidence to have appointed or turbaned the 1st defendant as the Alagar of Agar. An injunction, in the circumstance of this case is unwarranted.

The lone ground is resolved in favour of the respondent. The appeal fails and is hereby dismissed.

The judgment of Gbadeyan J., delivered on 11/7/2002 in Suit No. KWS/74/98 is hereby affirmed.”

The above holding by the court below makes it to be a concurrent decision of which I have no reason to tamper with unless it is shown to be perverse or contrary to known principles of the law which the appellant failed to show.

My Lords, there is no dispute that this is a civil appeal. There is no dispute also that it is an appeal on chieftaincy matter. The requirements of the law in all civil appeals is that the plaintiff should rely on the strength of his case rather than rely on the weakness of the defendants case. All the law requires from him is to discharge the burden placed on him by the law. As far back as 1976, this court settled the law in the case of Lewis & Peat (NRI) Ltd. v. Akhimun (1976) 10 NSCC 160 at 365, as follows:

  1. “where there is no issue the question of burden of proof does not arise.
  2. On the burden of proof on the pleading the rule is that the burden of proof rests on the party whether plaintiff or defendant who substantially asserts the affirmative of the issue.
  3. On the burden of adducing evidence: the burden of proof may shift depending on how the scale of evidence preponderates. Subject to the scale of evidence preponderating the burden of proof rests squarely on the party who would fail if no evidence at all or no more evidence as the case may be were given on either side. In other words it again rests before evidence is taken by the court of trial on the party who asserts the affirmative of the issue.”

See also: Olaiya v. Olaiya (2002) 8 NWLR (Pt.782) 652 at 664; Adegoke v. Adibi (1992) 5 NWLR (Pt.242) 410; Amodu v. Amode (1990) 5 NWLR (Pt.150) 356; Famuroti v. Agbeke (1991) 5 NWLR (Pt.189) 1; Ogbuanyinya v. Okudo (No.2) (1990) 4 NWLR (Pt. 146) 551.

I think it is not only sensible but necessary and legal for a claimant of a chieftaincy declaration such as the Alagar of Agar or the Alangua of Agar (as may appear appropriate), village head of Agar, as found by the learned trial judge, to prove sufficiently that he is entitled to the throne. This would, certainly, include, as found by the learned trial judge, that:

  1. it is essential for the plaintiff to plead and lead evidence in support of such facts as the history, native law and custom or tradition and procedure governing appointment to the traditional stool of Alagar.
  2. he was validly nominated and appointed to the stool.
  3. he should receive the blessing of the paramount Emir of Ilorin by turbaning him.
  4. he should receive the blessing of the Local Government Council and the traditional Emirate Council
  5. he should plead and establish the year/period of his appointment by the authorizing body/bodies.

These, in the least, are necessary in appointing a person who is expected to lead and be responsible to and for the people and authorities he should interact with. It should not be left open like a wild fire which knows no limit or bound. lf Chieftaincy stools should be left to chances, a day would come when only the strongest man or the most influential, will grab everything into his palms. That certainly will pose danger, anarchy and destabilization to the throne. It shall cease to be monarchical but autocratic. It will engender jungle justice. People will be subjected to fear, intimidation and subservience.

I think I have no cause to tamper with the decision of the court below which affirmed the decision of the trial court. I affirm the decision and dismiss this appeal, the respondents each, is entitled to N50,000.00 costs from the appellant.

Let me thank at the end, the learned counsel from the State Ministry of Justice who made available to us copies of the Chieftaincy Law of Kwara State which was aimlessly cited and not produced by the learned counsel for the appellant.


SC.295/2003

More Posts

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

LawGlobal Hub is your innovative global resource of law and more. We ensure easy accessibility to the laws of countries around the world, among others