We’re Not Informed Regarding The Court Case On Electoral Act – House Of Reps
The House of Representatives has said that it is not aware of the court case involving the Electoral Act of 2022, as previously reported.
Remember that on Friday, the Federal High Court in Umahia, Abia State, asked the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, to erase Section 84 (12) of the modified Electoral Act from the statute book.
Section 84 (12) of the Constitution, according to Justice Evelyn Anyadike, is unconstitutional, unlawful, illegal, null and void, and has no effect whatsoever since it is in contravention of the plain provisions of the constitution and so cannot stand.
It was decided by the Judge that provisions 66(1)(f), 107(1)(f), 137(1)(f), and 182(1)(f) of the 1999 constitution already required that government officials who wanted to run for election had to quit at least 30 days before the election date.
In response to the verdict, Malami issued a statement signed by his media assistant, Umar Gwandu, in which he pledged to follow the court’s order and have the clause removed from the electoral act that had already been signed.
He further said that the court verdict would be acknowledged by the Government printers when printing the Electoral Statute, and that the act will be gazetted as a result of this recognition.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Benjamin Kalu, the House’s Spokesperson, said that the Green Chamber was not aware of the court case and had not been alerted that it was a party to it.
Kalu said that the lower legislative chamber has not yet received a certified genuine copy of the decision and as a result, it is unable to comment on the ruling.
“The House of Representatives was not aware of this legal matter, was not served and is still unaware whether we were a necessary party to this matter or not.
“It is important also to note that it is out of place to comment on a judgment we are yet to see the certified true copy. We will make comment on this judgment once we receive the certified true copy to know the length and breadth of the judgment.
“But we have read from the social media and traditional media platforms that the judgment borders on section 84(12) of the electoral act.
“We will like to know — when we get the CTC — who represented us (house of representatives), who served us, when, and all those technicalities.
“It is important also to let Nigerians know the mindset of the legislature while drafting section 84(12). The section bothers on issues affecting our intention to carry out excellent electoral reforms.”
It was for this reason that Kalu claimed that Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act 2022 was drafted to address the behaviour of appointees of political office holders who are employed as tools at conventions and congresses.
As he said, the National Assembly intended to ensure that people who had served in government would not take advantage of their position by using it to their advantage while running for office in a different party.
He added: “As you know, for electoral reforms to be efficient, effective, transparent, accountable, inclusive, competitive, and fair, it has to be credible. And if any element of this is missing at any point — pre-election processes, election processes, post-election processes — towards achieving credible election, it affects the whole picture.
“That was why we wanted to address the conduct of appointees of political office holders who are used as tools during conventions and congresses that gives birth to who becomes a candidate in the general election or who not to be a candidate.
“We wanted to give a level playing ground for those who have been in government not to use the undue advantage of being in government while running for an office, so that they will be at par with those who are not occupying office and going for the same position.
“It has nothing to do with a public servant. I said it because I hear that many have argued that it offends the provision of the constitution on how to be qualified or disqualified for an election. That is for public servants.
“We are talking about political appointees and section 318 defines what a public servant is. It does not include political appointees. So, the ability to differentiate between these two will help us understand what the electoral act is trying to do as against what is being roped in as what it is trying to do.
“When we get the judgment, we will know whether that differentiation was clear or if it was not clear.”
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