The House of Representatives has resolved to appeal the judgment of a Federal High Court Umuahia asking the Attorney-General to delete section 84(12) of the newly passed Electoral Act 2022.
The lower chamber asked the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, to hold action on the issue until all appeal processes are concluded.
The newly-amended Electoral Act recently signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari, suffered a major setback as a Federal High Court sitting in Umuahia, last Friday, ordered the Attorney General of the Federation to delete Section 84(12) of the Act.
Justice Evelyn Anyadike, in a judgment, held that the section 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.”
The section reads: “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 lawmakers passed the resolution during a plenary session on Wednesday.
Sada Soli, a lawmaker from Katsina, had moved a motion and told his colleagues that a recent court judgment is an infringement on the right of legislators to lawmaking.
The lawmakers, therefore debated and condemned the decision of the court.
The legislators described the judgment as an aberration and vowed to appeal against the verdict.
Speaker of the house, Femi Gbajabiamila said he cannot allow the lower legislative chamber to be ridiculed under his watch.
President Buhari’s Stance
President Muhammadu Buhari while signing the Electoral Act Amendment Bill into law at a brief ceremony held at the Council Chamber of the Aso Villa, in Abuja, in February faulted Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act, 2022.
He believes the provision, as contained in the newly signed Act, constitutes a fundamental defect as it is in conflict with extant constitutional provisions.
He said the section disenfranchises 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.
He maintained that the provision introduced qualification and disqualification criteria that ultra vires the Constitution by way of importing blanket restrictions to serving political officeholders.