Factual Pursuit of Truth for Progress
The National Assembly has resolved to appeal the judgement of Federal High Court, Umuahia, nullifying section 84(12) of the Electoral Act.
Both the Senate and House of Representatives came to the resolution separately during today’s plenary.
Recall that Justice Evelyn Anyadike, in a judgment, held that the Section of the Act was “unconstitutional, invalid, illegal, null, void and of no effect whatsoever”, adding that it cannot stand when it is in violation of the clear provisions of the Constitution.
Consequently, the court ordered the Attorney General of the Federation to “forthwith delete the said Subsection 12 of Section 84 from the body of the Electoral Act.”
Justice Anyadike in the Suit FHC/UM/CS/26/2022 held that Sections 66(1), 107(1)(f) of the 1999 Constitution already stipulated that appointees of government seeking to contest elections were only to resign at least 30 days to the date of the election.
According to her, any other law that mandates such appointees to resign or leave the office at any time before that was unconstitutional, invalid, illegal, null and void to the extent of its inconsistency with the clear provisions of the Constitution.
In the Senate, the resolution followed a motion titled: “Urgent need to appeal judgement of the Federal High Court Umuahia on suit no FHC/UM/CS/26/2022 on Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act, 2022.”
The motion was sponsored by Senator George Sekibo (Rivers East) and co-sponsored by 80 other lawmakers.
Going further, the House of Representatives also vowed to report Justice Anyadiketo the National Judicial Council (NJC), for nullifying the provisions of the section from the Act.
The contentious Section 84(10) of the Act reads:
“No political appointee at any level shall be a voting delegate or be voted for at the convention or congress of any political party for the purpose of the nomination of candidates for any election.”
While addressing the lawmakers, Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, said he got to know about the case in the media and wondered why the House was not served any notice on the suit as a party to it.
The Speaker stated that he and the House would not sit back and allow it to be ridiculed under his watch.
Just like other members argued, the Speaker queried why the judgement was obtained in faraway Abia State, insisting that only the National Assembly had the constitutional authority to alter any part of the legislation which it passed.
He, therefore, appealed to Attorney General of the Federation Abubakar Malami not to hastily implement the court judgement, but to allow the National Assembly to carry out its legitimate functions of amending the Act.