Anambra Central: Court Sets Aside Its Consent Judgment, Adjourns Indefinitely

Henrietta Strickland
January 13, 2018

The Federal High Court Abuja, on Friday, set aside its own judgment delivered on December 13, 2017 which asked the Senate President to swear-in Mr Obiora Okonkwo as Senator representing Anambra Central Senatorial District.

The judgement which was delivered on December 13th, 2017 directed the Senate President to swear-in Okonkwo of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the elected Senator.

Justice John Tsoho yesterday vacated his earlier judgment in a ruling he delivered on an application seeking the setting aside of his December 13, 2017 consent judgment on the grounds that the court was misled by the plaintiff in securing the consent judgment.

Earlier, Okonkwo's effort to postpone the rerun at the Appeal Court failed as a ruling on the matter by a three-man panel of justices presided by Justice Abubakar Datti Yahaya, held that the earlier order made on November 20, 2017 directing INEC to conduct election for the senatorial seat within 90 days can not be reversed so as not to make mockery of the judiciary.

Justice Tsoho added that he was liable to set aside the earlier judgment, because it was not based on merit.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, has said that he was not contesting the re-run election for Anambra Central Senatorial District, describing the proposed election as a charade.

According to Tsoho, in the doctrine of precedence, Court of Appeal decisions takes precedence over decisions of any lower court.

Lawyers representing the PDP and Ekwunife agreed with Hon and argued that the Federal High Court had become functus officio in the matter, and going ahead to consider the INEC's motion would amount to the court sitting as an appellate court over its decision.

He consequently adjourned the case indefinitely pending the outcome of the appeal filed by PDP at the Supreme Court.

The judge had ordered that if a certificate of return had previously been issued to any person; it should be withdrawn and given to Okonkwo.

However, INEc had approached the same court, urging it to vary its judgment on the strength than an Appeal Court both in Enugu and Abuja, had ordered a rerun election within 90 days of judgment.

The judge noted the three existing judgments from the Court of Appeal to which Okonkwo was a party.

The court has also excluded the People's Democratic Party (PDP) from the election for failing to participate in the primary elections.

In a statement he personally signed, Okonkwo rejected the decision of the court to set aside the consent judgment in his favour, saying he has instructed his lawyers to proceed on appeal immediately.

He, therefore, disagreed with Okonkwo that he was not a party to the Appeal Court case.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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