The House of Representatives has said it was not aware of the suit challenging Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act in AbiaState.
The spokesperson of the House, Ben Kalu (APC, Abia), stated this in a statement on Friday in Abuja.
Justice Evelyn Anyadike of the Federal High Court in Umuahia, Abia State, had declared Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act illegal.
The section says: “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.”
Mrs Anyadike had, in her ruling, declared the provision as conflicting with sections 66(1)(f), 107(1)(f), 137(1)(f) and 182(1)(f) of the 1999 Constitution.
President Muhammadu Buhari had raised concern on the section and requested the lawmakers to delete it from the act. The President also forwarded an executive bill to the twochambers of the National Assembly asking that the section be deleted.
Mr Buhari had signed the Electoral Bill into law on February 25.
As a pre-emptive move, the main opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), had sued the President, attorney-general of the federation (AGF) and minister of justice, Senate president, speaker, House of Representatives, clerk of the National Assembly, senate leader, House of Representatives leader and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on the matter.
The court had granted the request restraining the above parties from amending the law.
Although the Senate president, Ahmad Lawan, had stated that the court could not stop the lawmakers from performing its constituted role, the senators rejected the bill during the second reading.
Kalu, in the statement, said the House cannot react to the judgment because it is yet to get a certified copy. He said the lower chamber has questions on who represented it in court.
“The House was not aware of this legal matter. The House was not served—whether we were a necessary party or not. It is important to note that it is out of place to comment on the judgment that we have not seen. We are only reading it on social media.
“The Senate had treated the bill, but the House is still waiting for a legal opinion on the issues raised by the President.
“We will like to know who served us, who represented us, when and all those technicalities,” he said.
Kalu said the House will be interested in the interpretation of public servants. According to him, political appointees are not public servants.
“Section 318 of the 1999 Constitution defines who a public servant is. It does not include political appointees. We must be able to differentiate between the two,” Mr Kalu said.
Meanwhile, the attorney general of the federation, AbubakarMalami, has said he will implement the court order.
Malami in a statement by his spokesperson, Umar Gwandu, on Friday, said the judgment of the court will be recognised by the government printers in printing the Electoral Act.
The AGF had said the government was considering all options to deal with the issue. Mr Malami is believed to be interested in contesting for the Kebbi State governorship seat and may be affected by the controversial section of the act.