Anambra Central Senatorial District: Court sets aside own judgment

Kenny Tucker
January 13, 2018

The coast is now clear for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to proceed with conducting Saturday's rerun for the disputed Anambra Central senatorial seat as an Abuja Division of the Federal High Court has set aside its December 12 judgement affirming Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Obiora Okonkwo, as the rightful candidate to occupy the Anambra Central senatorial seat.

It will be recalled that the judge had on December 13, 2017, ordered that Okonkwo be sworn-in as a senator representing Anambra central senatorial district and also ordered INEC to issue him a certificate of return.

Delivering a ruling on Friday on application filed by INEC, seeking variation of the judgment to enable it conduct the rerun as directed by the Court of Appeal, the Judge held that the plaintiff, Okonkwo had misled the court into getting the consent judgment.

The judge said that he could set aside his judgment because it was a consent judgment and not a judgment based on merit.

The judge took judicial notice of three judgments from the Court of Appeal which had ordered INEC to conduct the Senatorial re-run election for the Anambra central senatorial district within 90 days without the participation of the PDP.

The judgment was delivered in a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1092/14, which Okonkwo filed against the PDP; its former National Chairman, Alhaji Adamu Mu'azu; INEC; and Mrs. Uche Ekwunife.

Meanwhile, Dr. Obiora Okonkwo has expressed disagreement with the ruling of Justice John Tsoho that vacated an earlier judgment which declared him as the lawful candidate for the Anambra Central Senatorial seat.

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Justice Tsoho explained that the consent judgment is not on merit and can not stop his court from assuming jurisdiction.

Okonkwo in a press statement made available to newsmen in Abuja, argued that his suit was a pre-election matter and as such took preeminence over the post-election matter nullified by the Court of Appeal.

Therefore, if my rights have been determined timeously, the case that went to the Court of Appeal would not have arisen in the first place.

The court further held that the decision of the Court of Appeal which had ordered a rerun election for the Senatorial zone within 90 days, being a superior court of record, was binding on the court.

According to Justice Tsoho, that Okonkwo was not a party to the case was immaterial so far his party, PDP, on whose platform he contested the said election filed appeal.

The PDP appealed the judgment at the Supreme Court and the apex court is yet to hear the matter.

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