Sunday, 21 January, 2018

Coast Clears for Today's Anambra Central Senatorial Rerun

Court reverses judgment declaring Okonkwo as PDP senator ANAMBRA CENTRAL: Rerun to proceed as court overturns own judgment affirming PDP's Okonkwo as senator
Patty Aguilar | 13 January, 2018, 14:22

Sundiata Post recalls that the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Friday (today), vacated a consent judgement which conceded that Obiora Okonkwo was the right candidate in the last Anambra Central Senatorial District election and as such is entitled to the Certificate of Return.

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.

INEC had in an application asked the court to vary its judgment of December 13, to enable it conduct the rerun election slated for today, in line with the judgment of the Court of Appeal judgment, which directed INEC to conduct a fresh election to fill the vacant position within 90 days.

Tsoho added that the court took judicial notice of three earlier judgments from the Court of Appeal which ordered INEC to conduct a re-run election for the Senatorial District within 90 days.

Mr. Tsoho held that the actions of the respondent counsel in the suit, namely the Peoples Democratic Party, which resulted in the December judgement was questionable given the Appeal Court judgement which ordered a re-election without the inclusion of the party. It is not one on merit, therefore the court has jurisdiction to revisit it.

He also disagreed with Okonkwo that he was not a party to the Appeal Court case, saying the fact that Okonkwo was not a party to the case was immaterial so far his party, PDP, was.

Ruling on Friday, Justice Tsoho reversed its earlier judgment and held that Okonkwo misled the court.

This paves the way for the re-run election holding today in the district.

The judge had ordered that if a certificate of return had previously been issued to any person; it should be withdrawn and given to Okonkwo.

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.

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 court held that the time for primary elections had elapsed and the PDP could no longer field a candidate in the 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.

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

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