Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, said Federal government may recourse to law if the National Assembly fails to reconsider 2022 electoral act as demanded by President Muhammadu Buhari.
He stated this while addressing the newsmen after the Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday.
He said the government had three options available, which are asking the National Assembly for reconsideration, approaching the court or accepting the law as it was.
AGF said that while it was the responsibility of the lawmakers to make laws, the Federal Government would explore all the available options if necessary.
He, however, revealed that the government had yet to decide on the way forward on the issue.
He said, “The government has a lot of options to consider and exploit. One of the options is to demand the National Assembly to reconsider the section of the law. The other option is to look at it within the context and spirit of the law and see what it can do. And all these portions are on the table.
“No position has been conclusively taken on the part of the government. The government is reviewing; the government is looking and the government will come up with a position at the appropriate time if the need for further action is required. If there is no further need for such an action, the government will take it as presented.
“But no position has been taken by the government as of today with particular regard to what needs to be done on the part of the executive arising from the provisions of the Electoral Act in respect to which issues of conflict with the constitution were raised.”
Before assenting to the amended Electoral Act on Friday, February 25, President Muhammadu Buhari, asked the National Assembly to delete Section 84(12), which bars political appointees from participating in party conventions and congresses for the election of party officials and electoral candidates.
The section 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.”
The president said that it had introduced qualification and disqualification criteria that were ultra vires to the constitution by importing blanket restriction and disqualification to serving political office holders of which they were constitutionally accorded protection.
While rejecting the section, the president said, “The practical application of Section 84(12) of the Electoral Bill, 2022 will, if assented to, by operation of law, subject serving political office holders to inhibitions and restrictions referred to under sections 40 and 42 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
“It is imperative to note that the only constitutional expectation placed on serving political office holders that qualify, by extension as public officers within the context of the constitution, is resignation, withdrawal or retirement at least 30 days before the date of the election.”