* Says he was misled in delivering consent verdict
The Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday vacated its own order made on December 13 , 2017 directing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to issue certificate of return to Obiora Okonkwo of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), thus clearing the coast for today rerun election in Anambra Central Senatorial District.
Justice John Tsoho vacated the order while ruling on the application filed by INEC. The judge added that he was misled in delivering the December 13, 2017 consent judgment .
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.
The appellate court has in its judgment of November 20, 2017, excluded the PDP and its candidate from participating in the rerun.
Justice Tsoho had further held in his ruling 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.
He said that Okonkwo’s contention that he has not been a party was imaterial as he is a member of PDP. The judge also held that the PDP, having appealled the two Court of Appeal judgments that ordered the rerun election ,the plaintiff should seek remedy from the appeals.
The judge further stated that he was bound to set aside the earlier judgment because it was a consent judgment not based on merit.
On the priority of courts, the judge held that in the doctrine of precedent, Court of Appeal’s decision took precedent over and above that of any lower court. He held further that his court being a lower court, is bound by the decision of the Court of Appeal in the instant case.
Justice Tsoho then said: “The consent judgment is hereby vacated and set aside”.
He consequently adjourned the case indefinitely pending the outcome of the appeal filed by PDP at the Supreme Court.
Andrew Orolua, Abuja.