Anambra Central Senatorial dispute: Appeal Court dismisses Okonkwo’s appeal for lacking in merit

A special panel constituted by the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, on Monday, in Abuja, dismissed an appeal filed by a candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr.. Obiora Okonkwo.

In the appeal, Okonkwo asked the appellate court to restore the consent judgment that ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue him a certificate of return as senator for Anambra Central zone.

Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court, Abuja, had delivered the consent judgment on Dec. 13, 2017, but INEC approached the trial court, seeking for an order to vary the consent judgment.

Following submissions from counsel, Justice Tsoho, on Jan. 12, vacated and set aside the consent judgment on the grounds that Okonkwo had misled the court into giving the consent judgment.

Justice Tsoho held that Okonkwo had misrepresented the facts and failed to furnish the court with such vital information that there were already three existing judgments from the Court of Appeal on the matter.

Not satisfied with the ruling, Okonkwo headed to the Court of Appeal.

In his lead judgment, Justice Fredrick Oho, dismissed Okonkwo’s appeal for lacking in merit.

The five-man panel, headed by Justice M.L. Garba, affirmed the ruling of Justice Tsoho, which set aside the consent judgment of Dec. 13, 2017.

Justice Oho said he was in agreement with the trial court and the consent judgment was properly and correctly set aside.

The panel unanimously agreed that Okonkwo’s appeal was a desecration of the doctrine of “stare decisis,” since the appeal was filed in spite of pendency and subsisting  three judgments delivered on the matter.

“The consent judgment was rightly set aside to reinforce compliance with three subsisting judgments.

“The judgments had made compelling orders for INEC to conduct fresh election in Anambra Central Senatorial District within 90 days, and without the participation of the PDP.”

The judge held that the appellant hid facts and fraudulently misled the trial court to obtain the consent judgment and the appeal was according dismissed.

Respondents in the appeal were INEC, PDP, former National Chairman of the PDP, Mr Adamu Muazu, Mrs Uche Ekwunife, Sen. Victor Umeh, and All Progressives Grand Alliance, (APGA).

Members of the special panel were drawn from the various divisions of the appellate court to hear the pre-election matter.

They included Justices M.A. Danjuma, T.O. Awotoye; M.L. Shuaibu and F.O. Oho. (NAN)

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