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Memudu Lagunju V. Olubadan-in-council & Another (1952) LJR-WACA

Memudu Lagunju V. Olubadan-in-council & Another (1952)

LawGlobal Hub Judgment Report – West African Court of Appeal

(Nigeria)–Chief—Appointment—Whether in accordance with native law and custom—Governor the sole Judge—Jurisdiction of Courts excluded–” Due inquiry “—Duties of Governor—Appointment and Deposition of Chiefs Ordinance, section 2 (1) (2).

Facts

By sub-section (2) of section 2 of the Appointment and Deposition of Chiefs Ordinance of Nigeria: ” In the case of any dispute the Governor, after due inquiry and consultation with the persons concerned in the selection, shall be the sole Judge as to whether any appointment of a Chief has been made in accordance with native law and custom.” The above sub-section commits to the Governor exclusively the duty of judging whether an appointment has been made in accordance with native law and custom, and the jurisdiction of the Courts to decide that question is absolutely and unconditionally excluded by the sub-section. The requirement that there shall be due inquiry and consultation with the persons concerned in the selection is not a condition precedent to the Governor’s jurisdiction as sole Judge or to the exclusion of the Court’s jurisdiction, but it is a condition of the Governor’s valid exercise of his function of sole Judge. If he comes to a decision without having made due inquiry or consultation then in an appropriate action it would be competent for the Courts to set his decision aside. In no circumstances, however, could the Courts assume to themselves jurisdic-tion to decide that an appointment had or had not been made in accordance with native law and custom, and accordingly, when an action was so framed as to submit that question to the Court’s decision the action was incompetent.

See also  Adebeshin Folarin & Ors V. Samuel Olawole Williams & Ors (1942) LJR-WACA

Held

” Due inquiry ” was not necessarily public inquiry, but it implied that the parties to the dispute should be given an opportunity of being heard by the Governor as Judge between them, and in intimating a decision under section 2 (2) the Governor should unambiguously declare that the appointment had (or had not) been made in accordance with native law and custom.


Appeal dismissed.

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