Electoral Act 2022: Court Throws Out Section 84(12)

The Federal High Court in Umuahia, Abia state on Friday struck down a new innovation captured in section 84(12) of the recently amended Electoral Act.

The novel statutory provision had prohibited political appointees from voting as delegates in party conventions or congresses for the election or nomination of candidates.

Delivering judgement on the suit challenging the constitutionality of the provision, the judge, Evelyn Anyadike, held that the section was “unconstitutional, invalid, illegal, null, void and of no effect whatsoever.”

Adjudging the provision to be in conflict with the Nigerian constitution, the judge held that it “ought to be struck down as it cannot stand when it is in violation of the clear provisions of the Constitution.”

Mrs Anyadike ordered the Attorney General of the Federation to “forthwith delete the said Subsection 12 of Section 84 from the body of the Electoral Act, 2022”.

The decision upholding the case of the plaintiff on Friday aligns with the recent protest by President Muhammadu Buhari against the provision.

A lawyer and top member of Action Alliance (AA), Nduka Edede, had filed the suit to challenge the constitutionality of the provision, with the Attorney General of the Federation sued as the defendant.

The contested section 84(12) of the Electoral Act 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.”

It could be recalled that President Buhari had, after signing the bill into the law, written the National Assembly requesting that the provision be expunged from the Electoral Act.

He argued in the request that the provision constituted a disenfranchisement of serving political office holders from voting or being voted for at conventions or congresses of any political party, for the purpose of the nomination of candidates for any election, in cases where it holds earlier than 30 days to the national election.

The Senate however rejected the bill seeking the deletion of the provision earlier this month.

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