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Early voting: Low voter turnout recorded in Anambra Central re-run poll

13 January 2018

The coast is now clear for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to proceed with conducting Saturday's rerun for the disputed Anambra Central senatorial seat as an Abuja Division of the Federal High Court has set aside its December 12 judgement affirming Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Obiora Okonkwo, as the rightful candidate to occupy the Anambra Central senatorial seat.

Justice Tsoho said though the consent judgment he delivered was misconceived because the plaintiff did not disclose some facts to the court.

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.

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 precedence, the Court of Appeal's decision took precedence over and above that of any lower court. He held further that his court being a lower court, was bound by the decision of the Court of Appeal in the instant case.

The court has also excluded the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from the election scheduled for today for failing to participate in the primary elections.

"The consent judgment is hereby vacated and set aside", Tsoho held.

He disagreed with Okonkwo in his claim that he was not a party to the suits in the court of appeal.

Ruling on Friday, Justice Tsoho reversed its earlier judgment and held that Okonkwo misled the court.

The judge had ordered that if a certificate of return had previously been issued to any person; it should be withdrawn and given to Okonkwo.

The judge noted the three existing judgments from the Court of Appeal to which Okonkwo was a party.

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.

"The court today, based its decision on the Court of Appeal decision, in a post-election matter, wherein Senator Uche Ekwunife was disqualified on grounds that she was not the duly nominated candidate of PDP, and ordered for fresh elections".

Hon argued that the case of his client bordered on the pre-election dispute, in contrast to the election petition dispute which the Court of Appeal ruled on.

Early voting: Low voter turnout recorded in Anambra Central re-run poll