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Buhari, Malami Ask Supreme Court To Void Electoral Act Section 84 (12)

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President Muhammmadu Buhari and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) Abubakar Malami have asked the Supreme Court to void the provision of Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act 2022.

Their request is contained in a suit they filed April 29, 2022 before the apex court through a group of private lawyers, including Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), hired by the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation.

The suit marked: SC/CV/504/2022 has the National Assembly as the sole defendant.

The controversial Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act states: “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.”

On May 11, a three-member panel of the Court of Appeal, in Abuja set aside the judgment of the Federal High Court(FHC) in Umuahia which voided the provision of Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act 2022.

The panel headed by Justice Hamma Akawu Barka held that the FHC had no jurisdiction to have entertained the case because the plaintiff, Nduka Edede lacked the locus standi to have filed the suit in the first place.

It however held that if the court was to determine the case on merit, the provision of Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act was unconstitutional, being in breach of Section 42(1)(a) of the 1999 Constitution.

Buhari and Malami are therefore of the opinion that Section 84 (12) section of the Electoral Act 2022 is in conflict with constitutional provisions.

They are contending that the 1999 Constitution has made provisions for qualifications and disqualifications for the offices of the president and vice president, governor and deputy govemor, Senate and House of Representatives, and state Houses of Assembly, ministers, commissioners and special advisers.

The plaintiffs added that the same Constitution spells out “the qualifying factors for election into the office of president, vice-president. governor, deputy gavemor, Senate, House of Representatives, Houses of Assembly and ministers. .”

They are praying the court for the following reliefs:

“A declaration that by the joint and or combined reading of Sections 65, 66, 106, 107, 131, 137, 147, 151, 177, 182, 192 and 196, of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, (as amended), the provisions of section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act, 2022 which also ignores Section 84(3) of the same Act, is an additional qualifying and/or disqualifying factors for the National Assembly, Houses of Assembly, governorship and presidential elections as enshrined in the said constitution, hence unconstitutional, unlawful, null and void.

“A declaration that having regard to the clear provision of section 1(3) of the Constitution as amended, read together with section 4 of the same constitution, the legislative powers vested in the defendant do not permit or empower them to make any other law prescribing additional qualifying /disqualifying grounds for election to the National Assembly, Houses of Assembly, governorship and presidential election outside the express constitutional qualification and disqualification provisions as already provided in each or all of Sections 65, 66, 106, 107, 131, 137, 147, 151, 177, 182, 192 and 196 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), and without amendment to any of those sections is for reason of inconsistency, unconstitutional and therefore null and vold.

“A declaration that section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act, 2022 disqualifying a political appointee from being a voting delegate or be voted for at a convention or congress of any political party for the purpose of the nomination of candidates for any election Is discriminatory, inconsistent with and in violent breach of the provision of each or all of Sections 42, 65, 66, 106, 107, 131, 137, 147, 151, 177, 182, 192 and 196 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, (as amended), as well as Article 2 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights and some is null and void by reason of its inconsistency.

“A declaration that by the introduction of the provisions of Section 84(12) into the Electoral Act, 2022, but in disregard of Section 84(3) of the some Act, the defendant has acted ultra vires the legislative powers vested in it under the provision of section 4 of the Constitution (as amended) and/or in violation or breach of the provisions of Sections 65, 66, 106, 107, 131, 137, 147, 151, 177, 182, 192 and 196, thereby rendering Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act, 2022 unconstitutional, null and void.

“An order nullifying the provisions of Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act, 2022 by application of the blue pencil rule, for being unconstitutional, illegal, null and void and having been made in excess of the legislative powers of the defendant as enshrined in Section 4 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).” (ChannelsTV)

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