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Reps not served notice as party to court case on electoral act, says spokesman

  The house of representatives says it was not served a notice as being a party to a court case on the Electoral Act 2022.   Benjamin Ka...


The house of representatives says it was not served a notice as being a party to a court case on the Electoral Act 2022.


Benjamin Kalu, spokesperson of the house, said this on Friday while addressing journalists.


On Friday, a federal high court in Umuahia, Abia state, ordered the attorney-general of the federation to delete section 84(12) of the amended electoral act.


Evelyn Anyadike, the presiding judge, held that the section was unconstitutional, invalid, illegal, null, void and cannot stand.

Anyadike ruled 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.


President Muhammadu Buhari had signed the electoral act amendment bill on February 25, and asked the national assembly to expunge section 84(12) of the act, on the grounds that the provision disenfranchises serving political officers.


However, the senate rejected the president’s request, while the house of representatives had yet to take a decision on it.


Following the senate’s rejection, the AGF had said the federal government will consider all other options available on the matter.


Speaking on the decision of the court, Kalu said the lower legislative chamber is also yet to receive the certified true copy of the judgment.


“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,” he said.


“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.


“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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