Low turnout of voters in Anambra senatorial election

Anambra Central Senatorial election begins with voter apathy

The coast was Friday cleared for the conduct of the Anambra Central Senatorial election following, the setting aside of a Federal High Court judgment that directed the inauguration of Dr. Obiora Okonkwo as the lawful candidate for the vacant Anambra Central Senatorial seat at the National Assembly.

It will be recalled that the judge had on December 13, 2017, ordered that Okonkwo be sworn-in as a senator representing Anambra central senatorial district and also ordered INEC to issue him a certificate of return.

Justice John Tsoho ruled that he was misled by Okonkwo to give the judgment.

According to the electoral body, the appellate court had in three separate verdicts in suit number CA/EPT/28/2015, delivered on December 7, 2015, CA/A/160/2016 and CA/A/165/2016, both delivered on November 20, 2017, directed it to within 90 days, conduct a rerun for the senatorial district.

Justice Tsoho said his judgment is liable to be set aside because it is not based on merit.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, has said that he was not contesting the re-run election for Anambra Central Senatorial District, describing the proposed election as a charade.

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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Lawyers representing the PDP and Ekwunife agreed with Hon and argued that the Federal High Court had become functus officio in the matter, and going ahead to consider the INEC's motion would amount to the court sitting as an appellate court over its decision.

He noted that since his party, the PDP was a party to the suits; it implied that he, (Okonkwo) was also a party.

It will be recalled that the court of appeal judgment had excluded the PDP from participating in the re-run election on the grounds that the party did not conduct primary elections. It is not one on merit, therefore the court has jurisdiction to revisit it.

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"forthwith" swear in Okonkwo, and whereby the Certificate of Return had earlier been issued to anyone, such should be withdrawn and issued to Okonkwo.

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 also disagreed with Okonkwo that he was not a party to the Appeal Court case, saying the fact 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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