President Muhammadu Buhari has written to the House of Representatives, seeking amendment of Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Amendment Act 2022.
Rahma Media reports that the Federal High Court had on March 7, stopped Buhari, Attorney General of the Federation and the National Assembly from tampering with the newly amended electoral act 2022.
Justice Inyang Ekwo, in a ruling on an ex parte application by the Peoples’ Democratic Party agreed that the electoral act had become a valid law and could not be tampered with without following due process.
Mr Ekwo held that the proper place to challenge validity of any existing law was in a court of competent jurisdiction.
But the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, while reading the President’s letter to lawmakers during plenary on Tuesday, said Mr Buhari is asking for the amendment of the bill to reflect the spirit of the constitution.
Recall that Buhari while signing the 2022 electoral amendment bill on Feb. 25, complained that the provision constituted fundamental defect, saying it was in conflict with extant constitutional provisions.
According to him, section 84 (12) constitutes a disenfranchisement of serving political office holders from voting or being voted for at conventions or congresses of any political party.
This he said was for the purpose of the nomination of candidates for any election in cases where it holds earlier than 30 days to the National Election.
The section reads “No political appointee at any level shall be 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”.
He stated that the provision introduced qualification and disqualification criteria that ultra vires the Constitution by way of importing blanket restriction and disqualification.
This he said was basically for serving political office holders of which they were constitutionally accorded protection.
“It is imperative to note that the only constitutional expectation placed on serving political office holders that qualify by extension as public officers within the context of the constitution is resignation.
“Others he said were; withdrawal or retirement at least 30 days before the date of the election.
“Hence, it will be stretching things beyond the constitutional limit to import extraneous restriction into the constitution on account of practical application of section 84(12) of the bill’’.
This according to him is where political parties’ conventions and congresses were to hold earlier than 30 days to the election.
In the letter, Mr Buhari however requested that the Nationally Assembly considered immediate amendments that would bring the bill in tune with constitutionality by way of deleting section 84(12) accordingly.