The Court of Appeal in Abuja nullified the judgment of Justice Evelyn Anyadike of a Federal High Court in Umuahia which ordered the deletion of Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act 2022.
Section 84 (12) Electoral Act
On March 18, the Federal High Court in Umuahia presided over by Justice Evelyn Anyadike had ordered the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) to delete Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act.
Anyadike, in the judgment, held that the section was “unconstitutional, invalid, illegal, null, void and of no effect whatsoever and ought to be struck down as it cannot stand when it is in violation of the clear provisions of the Constitution.”
The judge held that Sections 66(1)(f), 107(1)(f), 137(1)(f), and 182(1)(f) of the 1999 Constitution already stipulated that appointees of government seeking to contest elections were only to resign at least 30 days to the date of the election.
Barely 24 hours after the judgement was delivered, the AGF, Abubakar Malami, SAN, announced his decision to immediately comply with the court order.
Specifically, section 84(12) of the Electoral Act, 2022, made it mandatory that political office holders must firstly resign from their positions before they could vie for any elective position.
It 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 Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had filed an appeal challenging the judgment of the Federal High Court in Umuahia which nullified Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act on the grounds that it was unconstitutional.
Delivering its judgment on Wednesday, May 11, the Appeal Court led by a three-member panel headed by Justice Hamma Akawu Barka held that the Federal High Court in Umuahia acted without jurisdiction.
The Appellate Court said the high court had no jurisdiction to have entertained the case because the plaintiff, Nduka Edede, lacked the locus standi to have filed the suit in the first place.
It added that Edede did not establish any cause of action to have warranted his approaching the court on the issue because he did not establish that he was directly affected by the provision.
The Court of Appeal struck out the suit marked: FHC/UM/CS/26/2022 which Edede filed before the Federal High Court in Umuahia.
While determining the appeal on the merit, the Appellate Court however held that the provision was unconstitutional because it violated Section 42 (1)(a) of the constitution and denied a class of Nigerian citizens their right to participate in election.
KanyiDaily recalls that President Muhammadu Buhari had before he signed the Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2022 into law, also expressed his reservations with that portion of the electoral law, which he described as discriminatory.