‘It’s an aberration’ — reps ask Malami to desist from deleting section 84(12) of electoral act
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‘It’s an aberration’ — reps ask Malami to desist from deleting section 84(12) of electoral act

The house of representatives has asked Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation (AGF), to desist from deleting section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act, 2022. 

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 lower legislative chamber 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.

Last Friday, a federal high court in Umuahia, Abia state, ordered the attorney-general of the federation to delete section 84 (12) of the amended electoral act.

Evelyn Anyadike, the judge, held that the section was unconstitutional, invalid, illegal, null, void and cannot stand.

Anyadike ruled 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.

At the plenary session on Wednesday, lawmakers debated and condemned the decision of the court.

The legislators described the judgment as an aberration and vowed to appeal against the verdict.

Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker of the house, said he cannot allow the lower legislative chamber to be ridiculed under his watch.

Ndudi Elumelu, minority leader of the house, said there is separation of powers in the constitution which clearly states that no arm of government should take up the duty of another arm.

He said the court should have interpreted the law and not interfere with the powers of the national assembly to make laws.

Tahir Monguno, chief whip, said the principle of natural justice calls for fair hearing.

He said the national assembly is an interested party but was not joined in the suit.

Monguno said the judge should have made an order for the national assembly to be joined in the suit.

On his part, Ado Doguwa, majority leader of the house, said Nigeria’s democracy should not be allowed to run as a jungle system.

“Whatever the decision the court took is an aberration,” he said.

Doguwa said the national assembly should issue a statement and condemn the judgment of the court.

The legislator said it is within the constitutional powers of the national assembly to make laws and that it should not be intimidated from carrying out its functions.

He described the court’s decision as an “institutional impunity”.

Gbajabiamila said it is “curious” that the national assembly was not joined in the suit.

He said the plaintiff is a meddlesome interloper.

“Even more curious is the fact that even the plaintiff has no injury that he has suffered,” he said.

“The powers of the legislative body was usurped. Under any guise, you cannot remove a punctuation, weather a comma. You cannot touch a piece of legislation unless it is done by those who have the constitutional authority to do so.

After the intense debate, the house resolved to appeal against the judgment and to also send a petition to the National Judicial Commission (NJC) over the judge’s ruling.

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