Yesterday, a Federal High Court sitting in Umuahia nullified the provision of Section 84 (12) of the newly signed Electoral Act 2022. The judgement of the Court was delivered by Justice Evelyn Anyadike. The court declared the subsection unconstitutional, null and void, for violating the provisions of the constitution. The court also ordered the Attorney General of the Federation to delete the said subsection from the Act.
Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act 2022 prohibits political appointees from being voting delegates, or be voted for, as to be nominated as candidates in any election at a convention or congress of any political party.
It states, "No political appointee at any level shall be a voting delegate or be voted for at the Convention of Congress of any political party for the purpose of the nomination of candidates for any election."
Therefore, this subsection disenfranchised political appointees in this respect. However, it is argued that this violates the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).
Section 42 of the Constitution guarantees freedom from discrimination. Moreover, Section 77(2) of the constitution guarantees the Freedom of a Nigerian citizen, residing in Nigeria, who is more than 18 years, to be elected into a legislative house. See also, Section 7(4) of the Constitution.
Notably, section 66(1)(f) of the 1999 Constitutions provides that a person serving in a public service can be disqualified from election if he doesn't resign thirty days before the election into the National Assembly.
It is also noteworthy that President Muhammadu Buhari had earlier written to the National Assembly, urging the NASS to amend the provisions of Section 84 (12) of the newly signed Electoral Act, 2022.
However, it was mentioned by the counsel to the plaintiff, Emeka Ozoani (SAN), that the National Assembly is no longer required to make such amendment, as the decision of the Court connotes Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act no longer exist altogether.