Electoral Act: Senate set to debate court judgment nullifying section 84

The Senate, will in plenary, Wednesday, (March 23, 2022,), consider a motion to discuss the recent judgment by a Federal High Court sitting in Umuahia that nullified the provisions of Section 84(12) of the newly amended Electoral Act 2022 passed by the National Assembly.

Justice Evelyn Anyadike, in a judgment, held that the Section of the Act was “unconstitutional, invalid, illegal, null, void and of no effect whatsoever and ought to be struck down as 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.

She said any other law that mandate 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 to the clear provisions of the Constitution.

However, coming under orders 10 and 11 of the Senate Standing rules on Personal Explanation, Senator George Thompson Sekibo (PDP, Rivers East) during plenary Tuesday, challenged the judgment of the court on Section 84(12).

Citing Section 4 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended, Sekibo stated that the National Assembly is empowered by virtue of its provisions to make laws for the peace, order and good governance of Nigeria.

He added that Section 228 lists such functions to include makingfor the conduct of party primaries, party congresses and party conventions; and the conferment on the Independent National Electoral Commission of powers as may appear to the National Assembly to be necessary or desirable for the purpose of enabling the commission more effectively to ensure that political parties observe the practices of internal democracy, including the fair and transparent conduct of party primaries, party congresses and party conventions.”

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