Published On: Sat, Jan 13th, 2018

Why I set aside judgment on Anambra Central Senatorial seat—Justice Tsoho

Federal High Court

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Friday set aside its earlier judgement directing the swearing-in of Dr. Obiora Okonkwo as the senator representing Anambra Central Senatorial District.

The trial court presided over by Justice John Tsoho held that his decision was informed by the emergence of fact that Dr Okonkwo misled the court into giving the verdict and that his judgment had to cave in to a contradictory judgment given by a superior court of record.

Bar and Bench Watch reports that the Federal high court had, on December 13, 2017, ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to immediately issue a Certificate of Return to Okonkwo as the senator for the Senatorial District on the strength of a consent judgement.

He also ordered the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, to swear in Okonkwo, and whereby the Certificate of Return had earlier been issued to anyone, such should be withdrawn and issued to Okonkwo.

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But in his ruling on Friday, in an application filed by INEC seeking variation of the judgment to enable it conduct the re-run as directed by the Court of Appeal, the judge held that the plaintiff, Okonkwo, had misled the court into getting the consent judgement.

Justice Tsoho added that it behoves on him to set aside the earlier judgement because it was not based on merit.

He also took judicial notice of three earlier judgements from the Court of Appeal ordering INEC to conduct a re-run election for the Senatorial District within 90 days.

The court also excluded the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from taking part in the election scheduled for today for failing to participate in the primaries.

The judge further held that by virtue of the doctrine of precedence, the court of appeal’s decision took precedence over and above that of any lower court.

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He therefore submitted that his court, being a lower court, was bound by the decision of the appellate court in the instant case.

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

According to Justice Tsoho, that Okonkwo was not a party to the case was immaterial so far his party, PDP, was.

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

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