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The Federal High Court sitting in Umuahia Friday struck down Section 84(12) of the newly amended Electoral Act which President Muhammadu Buhari had written to the National Assembly to delete.

The court, in a judgment delivered by Justice Evelyn Anyadike, held that the section was unconstitutional, invalid, illegal, null, void and of no effect whatsoever and ought to be struck down as it cannot stand when it is in violation of the clear provisions of the Constitution.

It would be recalled that Buhari had, while signing the amended Electoral Act, urged the National Assembly to delete the provision as it violated Constitution and breached the rights of government appointees.

The President further wrote a letter to both Chambers of the National Assembly seeking amendment by way of deleting the provision an amendment the Senate rejected in plenary.

Justice Anyadike in the Suit marked FHC/UM/CS/26/2022 held that Sections 66(1)(f), 107(1)(f), 137(1)(f) and 182(1)(f) of the 1999 Constitution already stipulated that appointees of government seeking to contest elections were only to resign at least 30 days to the date of the election and that any other law that mandated such appointees to resign or leave office at any time before that was unconstitutional, invalid, illegal null and void to the extent of its inconsistency to the clear provisions of the Constitution.

Counsel to the Plaintiff Emeka Ozoani (SAN) while addressing newsmen stated that by this judgment, the National Assembly is not required to further make any amendments to the section as the import of this judgment is that Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act is no longer in existence or part of the Electoral Act.

The Judge thereafter ordered the Attorney General of the Federation to forthwith delete the said Subsection 12 of Section 84 from the body of the Electoral Act, 2022

Incidentally, only a few days ago reacting to the situation the Attorney General of the Federation, (AGF), and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), had said that options available to the government to the Senate’s refusal to consider the president’s request for it to take another look, included making a request/demand for the National Assembly to amend the contentious section of the Electoral Act, judicial option, which is approaching the court or accepting the law as it is.

Malami said it was the responsibility of the lawmakers to legislate, adding that if it became necessary, the Federal Government would exploit all the options available to it.