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Anambra Central: Umeh defeats Okonkwo at Appeal Court

The legal battle over the soul of Anambra State senatorial district ended on Monday at the Abuja division of the Court of Appeal, where the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Obiora Okonkwo failed in his bid to unseat the incumbent, Victor Umeh.

A special panel of the appellate court justices in a unanimous judgment dismissed Okonkwo’s appeal for lacking in merit.

The Court affirmed the judgment of Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court, Abuja which set aside its own consent judgment delivered on December 13, 2017.

Justice Tsoho had in the consent judgment ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue a Certificate of Return to Obiora Okonkwo as the legitimate candidate for the Anambra Central senatorial seat.

However, the Court on January 12, 2018, in a judgment on a motion by INEC, set aside the consent judgment in which he ordered INEC to issue Okonkwo with a Certificate of Return. In setting aside the judgment, Tsoho held that he was misled by the plaintiff.

Tsoho, accordingly aligned himself with the judgment of three Courts of Appeal which ordered INEC to conduct a fresh election within 90 days to fill the vacant senatorial seat.

Not satisfied with the decision of the trial court, Okonkwo approached the Court of Appeal to upturn Tsoho’s decision and ordered INEC to swear him in as the representative of the senatorial district.

In the notice of appeal, which was rooted on 13 grounds, Okonkwo had prayed the Court of Appeal to set aside the January 12, 2018 ruling of Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court which vacated the said consent judgment of December 13, 2017.

But delivering judgment Monday on Okonkwo’s appeal, the appellate court held that the trial court was in order by setting aside the consent judgment it delivered on December, 13, 2017.

He said the Court had the inherent powers to set the records straight by setting aside the consent judgment once it is discovered that there are a lot of infractions leading to the judgment.

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