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

Umeh wins Anambra Central rerun election

"My party, the APC and INEC are in the Court of Appeal Abuja over this obnoxious & illegal action of INEC with hearing on the matter fixed for 23rd of January which is still within the armbit of 90days ordered by court, only for the INEC to fix an "election" for 13th in order to give an unfair advantage to the APGA candidate to go "unopposed".

He also took judicial notice of three earlier judgments from the Court of Appeal, ordering INEC to conduct a re-run election for the district within 90 days and excluded the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from the election scheduled for today for failing to participate in the primary elections.

Justice John Tsoho, however, set aside the judgment on the grounds that the plaintiff, Dr Obiorah, mislead the court to get the consent judgment.

But INEC, through its lawyer, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), had filed a motion before the court contending that the court lacked the powers to order it to issue Certificate of Return to Okonkwo, when the Court of Appeal, which is higher in hierarchy, had earlier made definite orders that a fresh election should be conducted. He, therefore, submitted that his court being a lower court, is bound by the decision of the appellete court in the instant case.

He drew the attention of Okonkwo to an appeal filed by his party against the judgment of the Appeal Court, which ostensibly showed he and PDP are interested parties.

"The judgment being a consent judgment and not one on merit, the court has jurisdiction to revisit it", Tsoho said.

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

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.

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

"It is significant to note that I went to court in this present case even before the March 2015 National Assembly election".

Hon argued that the case of his client bordered on the pre-election dispute, in contrast to the election petition dispute which the Court of Appeal ruled on.

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. I urge you all to remain calm and law-abiding.

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