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Buhari writes NASS, seeks amendment of section 84 (12) of Electoral Act


President Muhammadu Buhari has written to the National Assembly, seeking amendment of Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Amendment Act 2022.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, read the President’s letter to lawmakers during plenary on Tuesday in Abuja

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mr. Buhari while signing the 2022 Electoral Amendment Bill on February 25 complained that the provision constituted a fundamental defect, saying it conflicted with extant constitutional provisions.

According to him, section 84 (12) constitutes a disenfranchisement of serving political office holders from voting or being voted for at conventions or congresses of any political party.

This, he said, was for the nomination of candidates for any election in cases where it holds earlier than 30 days to the National Election.

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 nomination of candidates for any election.”

He stated that the provision introduced qualification and disqualification criteria that ultra vires the Constitution by way of importing blanket restriction and disqualification.

This, he said, was basically for serving political office holders of which they were constitutionally accorded protection.

“It is imperative to note that the only constitutional expectation placed on serving political office holders that qualify by extension as public officers within the context of the constitution is resignation.

“Others he said were; withdrawal or retirement at least 30 days before the date of the election.

“Hence, it will be stretching things beyond the constitutional limit to import extraneous restriction into the constitution on account of the practical application of section 84(12) of the bill’’.

This according to him is where political parties’ conventions and congresses were to hold earlier than 30 days before the election.

NAN reports that Mr. Buhari is asking for the amendment of the bill to reflect the spirit of the constitution.

Mr. Buhari, however, requested that the Nationally Assembly considered immediate amendments that would bring the bill in tune with constitutionality by way of deleting section 84(12) accordingly.

Meanwhile, the Federal High Court on March 7 stopped Mr. Buhari, Attorney-General of the Federation and the National Assembly from tampering with the newly amended electoral act 2022.

The judge, Inyang Ekwo, in a ruling on an ex parte application by the Peoples’ Democratic Party, agreed that the Electoral Act had become a valid law and could not be tampered with without following due process.

Mr. Ekwo held that the proper place to challenge the validity of any existing law was in a court of competent jurisdiction.

Herma Hembe, (APC-Benue), however, reminded the House of the ruling of the court.

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