Senators, Reps to court: sustain Electoral Act 84
Written by on April 19, 2022
Lawmakers file grounds of appeal, ask for accelerated hearing
The High Court lacks the powers to order the deletion of Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act 2022, the National Assembly has told the Court of Appeal.
It urged the appellate court to order the retention of the section, adding that Justice Evelyn Anyadike of the Federal High Court in Umuahia erred in law when she ordered the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), to delete it.
The section provides that “no political appointee at any level shall be a voting delegate or be voted for at the convention or congress of any political party”.
In an appeal against the judge’s verdict, the Federal lawmakers raised five grounds of appeal on why the court should set aside the March 18 judgment.
It is also asking that the case be heard before the political parties hold their national conventions to select candidates for next year’s general elections.
Not determining the appeal before the deadline for the submission of the list of candidates will defeat the purpose of the law, the National Assembly said.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has given the parties June 3 deadline to complete the conventions.
The lawmakers, through their 18-man legal team, led by Dr. Kayode Ajulo, based their appeal on five grounds, namely:
The National Assembly claimed that its powers were prejudiced by the court when Section 84(12) was declared unconstitutional, null and void without joining the appellants.
The National Assembly faulted the Federal High Court judge for not giving it a fair hearing by denying it an opportunity to be heard.
It alleged that the judge allegedly occasioned a miscarriage of justice.
It said the sections only relate to public servants and do not include political appointees.
The appellant said the trial judge “misconceived the clear position of the law and gave a perverse judgment” when she held that Section 84(12) is inconsistent with the provisions of Section 66(1) (f), 107(1) (f), 137(1) (g) and 182(1) (g) of the constitution.
On the plaintiff’s locus standi, the National Assembly claimed that he did not sufficiently disclose to the lower court how his constitutional rights, as a political appointee/officeholder, had been or were likely to be breached.
The National Assembly also claimed that the judge exceeded his jurisdiction when he ordered the Attorney-General of the Federation) to delete Section 84(12) from the Electoral Act, 2022 with immediate effect.”
It said nowhere in Section 6 of the constitution or elsewhere is the legislative power of the federation vested in the courts.
The National Assembly sought an order to allow the appeal and set aside the judgment delivered by Justice Anyadike.