The Supreme Court, on Thursday, reserved judgement in a suit filed by President Muhammadu Buhari and the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, seeking to nullify Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act 2022.
Messrs Buhari and Malami filed their suit at the Supreme Court, seeking an interpretation of the controversial clause in the Electoral Amendment Act 2022.
A seven-member panel of the Supreme Court led by Mohammed Datijjo, said a later date for judgment would be communicated to parties.
The panel arrived at this conclusion, after taking arguments from lawyers to parties and adoption of their final arguments.
At Thursday’s proceedings, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) brought applications, seeking to be joined as interested parties.
But APGA later opted out by withdrawing its application, which was subsequently struck out by the apex court.
However, the Supreme Court allowed the NBA into the suit as a friend of the court to offer its legal perspectives that will help guide the apex court in reaching a just determination of the matter.
In his arguments, the Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly and Attorney General of the state, Emmanuel Ukala, citing the Supreme Court additional jurisdictions Act, said Mr Buhari lacks the right to institute such a suit as he is not directly affected by Section 84 (12] of the Electoral Act.
The controversial clause in the Electoral Amendment Act 2022, provides that “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.”
Mr Ukala, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), said the appointees affected by the law should have been the ones instituting the suit for being shut out from exercising their rights.
Similarly, the National Assembly, which was the sole defendant before the Rivers State government was joined, opposed the filing of the suit at the apex court.
Kayode Ajulo, the National Assembly’s lawyer, contended that the Supreme Court “lacks the requisite jurisdiction to hear and determine this suit.”
But the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Lateef Fagbemi, said the Supreme Court has the jurisdiction to hear and determine the suit.
In the suit marked SC/CV/504/2022 and filed on April 29, 2022, Messrs Buhari and Malami are seeking an order of the apex court to strike out the section of the Electoral Act, which they argue was inconsistent with the nation’s constitution.
PREMIUM TIMES reported that the plaintiffs contend that the Section 84 (12) of the Electoral (Amendment) Act, 2022 is inconsistent with the provisions of sections 42, 65, 66, 106, 107, 131, 137, 147, 151, 177, 182, 192 and 196 of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, (as amended), as well Article 2 of the African Charter on Human and People and Peoples Rights.
The plaintiffs also contended that the Nigerian constitution already provides qualification and disqualification for the offices of the President and Vice President, Governor and Deputy Governor, Senate and House of Representatives, House of Assembly, Ministers, Commissioners and Special Advisers.
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