A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has barred the Senate from granting President Muhammadu Buhari’s request to delete a section of the recently signed Electoral Act.
President Buhari had last week asked the Senate to expunge Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act 2022 which prevents serving political appointees from voting as delegates or seeking elective positions during conventions or congresses of their parties.
The section provides that, “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”.
The president’s request for deletion of the section is believed to be aimed at saving the jobs of some of his political appointees who would be required to either resign from office or be denied the opportunity to contest for elective positions based on the provisions of the new Electoral Act.
Justice Inyang Ekwo while ruling on an ex parte application by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) on Monday held that the Electoral Act had become a valid law and could not be amended without following due process.
Justice Inyang held that the proper place to challenge validity of any existing law was in a court of competent jurisdiction.
The PDP, through its counsel, Mr James Onoja (SAN), had sued President Buhari and the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, over the bid to amend the already signed Electoral Act.
The Senate President, Speaker, House of Representatives, Clerk of National Assembly, Senate Leader, House of Representatives Leader and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) were named as defendants in the suit.
Also joined as defendants in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/247/2022 were Deputy Senate President, Deputy Speaker, Deputy Senate Leader and Deputy Leader, House of Representatives. The party prayed the court for an order of interim injunction restraining the president and other defendants from refusing to implement the duly signed Electoral Act.
PDP had also applied for an order of the court stopping the National Assembly from taking any step that would make provision of Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act inoperative pending the resolution of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction. Hearing of the matter has been fixed for March 21.
About 25 political aides of President Buhari, including 13 serving ministers, are believed to be planning to seek elective offices in the 2023 elections, reports The Whistler.