Abuja – Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Friday vacated a consent order which would have halted Saturday’s Anambra Central Senatorial Rerun election.
The court said the consent judgment delivered on December 13, 2017 was not considered on merit.
The consent judgment had directed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue certificate of return to Dr. Obiora Okonkwo of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the lawful candidate for the vacant Anambra Central Senatorial seat at the National Assembly.
Justice Tsoho said though the consent judgment he delivered was misconceived because the plaintiff did not disclose some facts to the court.
On the argument that the court cannot seat on an appeal against its judgment, the court said hearing the appeal has not rendered it functus officio.
Justice Tsoho explained that the consent judgment is not on merit and cannot stop his court from assuming jurisdiction.
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.
INEC had in an application filed on December 25, asked the court to vary its judgment of December 13, to enable it conduct the rerun election slated for Saturday, in line with the judgment of the Court of Appeal judgment, which directed the commission to conduct a fresh election to fill the vacant position within 90 days.
Tsoho held that Okonkwo suppressed facts when he said he was not a party in the Appeal Court judgment, whereas his party, the PDP was a party to all the judgment, 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.
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.
The judge further held that in the doctrine of precedent, Court of Appeal’s decision on the matter took precedent over and above any pronouncement made by alower court.
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Author: Paschal Njoku