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Electoral Act: Appeal Court vacates judgement voiding 84(12)

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An Appeal Court in Abuja, on Wednesday, vacated the judgement of the Federal High Court in Umuahia, Abia State, which voided the provision of Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act 2022.

The appellate court, in a unanimous decision by a three-man panel of justices led by Justice Hamma Akawu Barka, held that the high court, acted without jurisdiction.

It held that the Plaintiff, Mr. Nduka Edede, lacked the locus standi to institute the action.

According to the appellate court, Edede, failed to establish any cause of action that warranted him to approach the court on the issue, noting that the plaintiff was unable to prove how he was directly affected by that section of the newly amended Electoral Act.

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Consequently, it struck out the suit marked: FHC/UM/CS/26/2022, which Edede filed before the Umuahia court.

President Muhammadu Buhari signs the Electoral Act as Senate President Ahmad Lawan and Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila look on Electoral Act

President Muhammadu Buhari signs the Electoral Bill as Senate President Ahmad Lawan and Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila look on

Nonetheless, the appellate court, while determining the appeal on the merit, held that the said provision of the electoral law was unconstitutional because it is in breach of Section 42 (1)(a) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, stressing that the section denied a class of Nigerian citizens their right to participate in election.

The judgment followed an appeal marked: CA/OW/87/2022, which was filed by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

It will be recalled that the High Court in Umuahia, had in March, struck down section 84(12) of the Electoral Act, 2022 and ordered that it should be deleted by the Attorney-General of the Federation for being inconsistent with the Constitution.

Barely 24 hours after the judgement was delivered, the AGF, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, announced his decision to immediately comply with the court order.

President Muhammadu Buhari had before he signed the Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2022 into law expressed his reservations with that portion of the electoral law, which he described as discriminatory.

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Specifically, section 84(12) of the Electoral Act, 2022, made it mandatory that political office holders must firstly resign from office, 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.”

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