From Emmanuel Iyoho
The Federal Government has expressed its readiness to effect the recent court judgment that has to do with Section 84(12) Of Electoral Act 2022, in line with the dictates of the law and the spirit of the judgment.
The Attorney General of the Federation and minister of justice, Abujbakar Malami, stated this in a press statementsigned and made public by the special assistant on Media and Public Relations, Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu.
According to the statement, as observed by The Pioneer, thecourt judgment of the will be recognized by the government printers in printing the Electoral Act.
The Act, the statement noted, would be gazetted factoring the effect of the judgment into consideration and deleting the constitutionally offensive provision accordingly.
“The provision of Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act 2022 is not part of our law and will be so treated accordingly.
This is in line with the dictates of chapter 7, Part 4, Section 287 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) on enforcement of decisions that makes it a point of duty and obligation on all authorities and persons to have the judgment of the federal High Court, among others, to be enforced,” the statement added.
Recall that the Federal High Court sitting in Umuahia, Abia State had ordered the Attorney-General of the Federation to immediately delete Section 84 (12) of the amended Electoral Act.
Justice Evelyn Anyadike on Friday held that the section was unconstitutional, invalid, illegal, null, void and of no effect whatsoever and cannot stand, as it is in violation of the clear provisions of the Constitution.
The section says: “No political appointee at any level shall be 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”.
In the suit marked FHC/UM/CS/26/2022, Justice Anyadike further stated that Sections 66(1)(f), 107(1)(f), 137(1)(f) and 182(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 and that any other law that mandated such appointees to resign or leave 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.
While signing the Electoral Bill into law last month, President Buhari had asked the National Assembly to delete section 84 (12).
President Buhari had argued that “Section 84 (12) constitutes a disenfranchisement of serving political office holders from voting or being voted for at conventions or congresses of any political party, for the purpose of the nomination of candidates for any election in cases where it holds earlier than 30 days to the national election”.
The Senate, however, refused to consider the President’s request and threw out the bill seeking the amendment of the section, with lawmakers stressing that an amendment would be going against the civil service norms and would be injurious to the well-being of the society.
Following the Senate’s refusal, Malami on Wednesday said the Federal Government would consider all other options available to it before a position would be taken.
“Even though it is the responsibility of the lawmakers to legislate, if it becomes necessary, the government will exploit other options which will include either putting forward another request to the parliament for reconsideration, approaching the court, or accepting the law just as it is,”Malami added.