The National Assembly may suspend the ongoing amendment to the Electoral Act, 2022 based on the request by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), who asked the federal parliament to delete Section 84(14) of the new electoral law, The PUNCH learnt on Monday.
It was learnt that the leadership of the National Assembly would study the ruling of a Federal High Court, Abuja, stopping Buhari; the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN); and the parliament from tampering with the newly amended Electoral Act, 2022.
Buhari had last week conveyed his reservation about the Electoral Act, 2022 to the National Assembly.
While the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, last Tuesday read Buhari’s cover letter on the Electoral Act, 2022 (Amendment) Bill dated February 28, 2022, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has yet to read the President’s letter.Buhari, while assenting to the Electoral Act 2010 (Amendment) Bill at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on February 25, highlighted sections of the new law that would revolutionalise the electoral system in the country, but expressed reservations about Section 84 (12).
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’.
In the letter, Buhari drew the attention of the chamber to the provisions of Section 84(12), which he noted constituted a “defect” that was in conflict with extant constitutional provision
However, Justice Inyang Ekwo, in a ruling on an ex parte application filed by the Peoples Democratic Party, agreed that the Electoral Act had become a valid law and could not be tampered with without following the due process.Justice Ekwo held that the proper place to challenge the validity of any existing law was in a court of competent jurisdiction.
The PDP, through its counsel, James Onoja (SAN), sued the President along with the others challenging what it described as a bid to tinker with the newly amended Electoral Act.
Other defendants in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/247/2022 are the President of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Deputy President of the Senate, Deputy Speaker of the House, Clerk to the National Assembly, Leader of the House, Leader of the Senate, and the Independent National Electoral Commission.
Justice Ekwo restrained the defendants in the suit from removing Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act or preventing it from being implemented for the purpose of the 2023 general elections.The PDP had dragged Buhari before the court challenging a fresh move to tamper with the newly amended Electoral Act.