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Umuahia Court declares section 84(12) of Amended Electoral Act unconstitutional

A Federal High Court sitting in Umuahia has declared that section 84 subsection 12 of the Amended Electoral Act 2022 is unconditional, invalid, illegal, null and void. Justice Evelyn Anyadike in her judgement yesterday held that political appointees can only resign 30 days to election and upheld that sections 66, 107,137 and 182 of the 1999 constitution as the only requirements for resignation by political appointees. The court consequently ordered the Attorney General of the Federation to forthwith delete section 84(12) from the Electoral Act which President Muhammadu Buhari had earlier written to the National Assembly to amend. Justice Anyadike held that the section ought to be struck down as it cannot stand when it is in violation of the clear provisions of the Constitution.

It would be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had while signing the amended Electoral Act urged the National Assembly to delete the provision as it violated the Constitution and breached the rights of government appointees. The President further wrote a letter to both chambers of the National Assembly seeking amendment by way of deleting the provision, an amendment the Senate overwhelmingly rejected.

In the Suit marked FHC/ UM/CS/26/2022, Barrister Nduka Edede, a member of the Action Alliance (AA) had approached the court to seek proper interpretation of section 84(12) of the Amended Electoral Act. Counsel to the Plaintiff Emeka Ozoani (SAN) while addressing newsmen said his client had earlier because of the rancour sorrounding section 84(12) of the Electoral Act, approached the court to determine whether section 84(12) when read together with sections 66, 197,137 and 182 of the Constitution is not inconsistent. “The court agreed with our submissions and has just ordered that section 84(12) of the Electoral Act is inconsistent with the rights of Nigerian citizens when read with sections 66, 107,137 and 182 of the Constitution and now nullified section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act,” he said while noting that the implication of the judgement is that it has provided congenial atmosphere for politicking in 2023.

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