A Federal High Court, Abuja, Friday, set aside its earlier judgment directing the swearing in of Dr. Obiora Okonkwo as the Senator Representing Anambra Central Senatorial District on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Justice John Tsoho in the ruling held that Okonkwo suppressed fact when he said he was not a party in the Appeal Court judgment, whereas his party, the PDP was a party to all the judgments, adding that the PDP has already filed a notice of appeal against the judgment of the Court of Appeal.
The Judge further stated that he was liable to set aside the earlier judgment because it was not based on merit.
Justice Tsoho had on December 13, 2017, directed the Independent National Electoral Commission to immediately issue a Certificate of Return to Okonkwo as the Senator for the Senatorial District on the strength of the consent judgment.
He also ordered the Senate President, Bukola Saraki to “forthwith” swear in Okonkwo, and whereby the Certificate of Return had earlier been issued anyone, such should be withdrawn and issued to Okonkwo.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.
INEC had therefore asked the court to set aside its consent judgment so as to enable it conduct the rerun election in the said Senatorial District, as ordered by the Appeal Court.
The rerun election is to hold January 13, 2018 (tomorrow)
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 court has also excluded the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) from the election for failing to participate in the primary elections.
The Judge further held that in the doctrine of precedent, court of appeal’s decision took precedent over and above that of any lower court.
He therefore submitted that his court being a lower court, is bound by the decision of the appellet court in the instant case.
Justice Tsoho held that Okonkwo had concealed the fact that he and his party, the PDP, were parties to the suit at the Appeal Court.
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.
He, therefore, 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 , on whose platform he contested the said election filed appeal.
He consequently adjourned the case indefinitely pending the outcome of the appeal filed by PDP at the Supreme Court.