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Friday, February 3, 2023

BREAKING: Senate Challenges Ruling On Electoral Act Amendment

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The Senate has reacted to a court order stopping it from re-amending the Electoral Act 2022 recently signed by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Senate on Tuesday challenged the ruling by a Federal High Court in Abuja.

Senate President Ahmad Lawan, who made this assertion on the floor at plenary, said the judiciary cannot stop the National Assembly from performing its constitutionally assigned duties.

“The judiciary, cannot stop the National Assembly from performing its duties,” Lawan said.

The court, in a ruling delivered by Justice Inyang Ekwo, specifically barred all the defendants in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/247/2022, from removing section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act or preventing it from being implemented for the purpose of the 2023 general elections.

The defendants in the suit are; the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Clerk to the National Assembly, Senate Leader, House of Representatives Leader and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

Others are; Deputy Senate President, Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Deputy Senate Leader and Deputy Leader of the House of Representatives.

President Muhammadu Buhari, before he signed the Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2022 into law, asked the National Assembly to expunge section 84 (12) of the Act, which he argued would disenfranchise serving political appointees.

The section specifically made it mandatory that political office holders must firstly resign from office before they could vie for any elective position.

The court order 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.”

The PDP, in the substantive suit it filed through its team of lawyers led by Chief Ogwu Onoja, SAN, challenged the legality or otherwise of the National Assembly tinkering with the Electoral Act, after it had been signed into law by the President.

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