By Akinwande Soji-Ojo
The House of Representatives is considering reporting Justice Evelyn Anyadike of the Federal High Court sitting in Umuahia, Abia State, to the National Judicial Council(NJC) for nullifying the provisions of Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act 2022.
Justice Anyadike had last week ordered the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), to delete the section from the Act.
The House also resolved to appeal the judgement and have it upturned.
The lawmakers asked Malami to allow the National Assembly to exercise its right to appeal the case.
Several members of the House, at Wednesday’s plenary, criticised the judiciary and the executive for usurping the powers of the legislature, stating that only the parliament and not a presidential appointee can amend the law.
The Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, said he got to know about the case in the media. He said he discovered that the chamber was not served any notice, and it was a party in the suit.
Gbajabiamila said President Muhammadu Buhari was rightly advised to approach the National Assembly for amendment of the Act.
The Speaker stated that he would not sit back and allow the parliament to be ridiculed under his watch.
Gbajabiamila said it as funny that the National Assembly was joined in the suit and the judgement was secured from a court in Umuahia, Abia State.
The Speaker stated that the parliament must appeal the judgement and ensure that it was set aside.
According to him, “it is a mistake and we the must correct it.”
Gbajabiamila asked Malami to “tarry” and not take over the responsibility of the National Assembly.
Section 84(12) of the amended electoral act read: “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.”
On Friday, Anyadike had held that the section was unconstitutional, invalid, illegal, null, void and of no effect whatsoever, saying it ought to have been struck out.
A lawyer and chieftain of Action Alliance party, Nduka Edede, had approached the court, in the suit that had the Attorney-General of the Federation as the defendant.
The Plaintiff had asked the court to determine whether Section 84(12), when read together with Sections 66(1)(f) 107(1)(f)(137(1)(f) and 182(1)(f) of the 1999 Constitution, was not inconsistent.
Malami had said his office would accordingly give effect to the court judgement in line with the dictates of the law and the spirit of the judgement.
“The judgement of the Court will be recognised by the government printers in printing the Electoral Act.
“The Act will be gazetted factoring the effect of the judgement into consideration and deleting the constitutionally offensive provision accordingly.
“The provision of Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act 2022 is not part of our law and will be so treated accordingly.
“This is in line with the dictates of chapter 7, Part 4, Section 287 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) on enforcement of decisions that make it a point of duty and obligation on all authorities and persons to have the judgement of the Federal High Court, among others, to be enforced,” Malami said.