President Muhammadu Buhari has told a Federal High Court in Abuja that he did not request that section 84 (12) of the modified Electoral Act 2022 be struck down by the Senate.
Buhari stated that he simply raised doubts and worries about the Electoral Act’s component.
This is in direct opposition to the Peoples Democratic Party’s accusations in an Electoral Act complaint filed against him and 12 others.
At the request of the Attorney General of the Federation AGF and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, the president’s viewpoint was set forth in a rebuttal affidavit submitted before the Federal High Court.
The AGF explained in the joint reply affidavit by Buhari and Malami to rebut the PDP’s claims in the litigation that Buhari granted proper, full, and unconditional assent to the modified Electoral Act on February 25, 2022.
The President and Malami’s rebuttal affidavits were filed on their behalf by Oladipupo Okpeseyi, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria SAN, and deposed by Abimbola Akintola, a legal practitioner.
Buhari and Malami claimed that the PDP’s assertions in its Electoral Act complaint against them are completely untrue and filled with egregious inaccuracies aimed at persuading the court to rule against them.
“The consent of the 1st defendant (Buhari) to the Electoral Bill provided on February 25, 2022, was proper, full, and unconditional,” the counter-affidavit stated.
“On February 25, the first defendant (Buhari) signed the Electoral Bill 2022, but he did not give conditions or orders to the National Assembly in the manner erroneously alleged by the plaintiff” (PDP).
The first defendant (Buhari) never gave any order to the National Assembly’s management or leadership about the removal of section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act 2022.
“Prior to assenting to the Electoral Bill 2022, the first defendant (Buhari) just stated his remarks and reservations regarding Bill’s limits on serving public office holders and political appointees, but offered his assent to avoid further delay as time was of the essence.”
“That the first defendant (Buhari) merely voiced his views on the contradiction of section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act with other parts of the Constitution not just to the National Assembly but to the entire nation.”
“On March 8, 2022, the first defendant (Buhari) formally wrote the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives to express his concerns about section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act and formally requested that the section be amended to eliminate areas of inconsistency with the Constitution.
“I am aware that the National Assembly did not accept or act on Buhari’s opinion or advice.”
“In this case, the first and second defendants (Buhari and Malami) truly and firmly believe that section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act disenfranchises and discriminates against Nigerians in public service or public office holders who are political appointees, preventing them from exercising their inalienable rights in a participatory democracy by preventing them from participating in the electoral process.”
“It is beyond their constitutional power that Buhari and Malami have never declared section 84 (12) or any other provision of the Electoral Act unconstitutional.”
Furthermore, Buhari and Malami stated that in March, a Federal High Court in Abia State, in a judgment written by Justice Evelyn Anyadike, struck down the clause and ordered that it be erased immediately because it was unconstitutional.
The National Assembly and the PDP have both appealed the verdict, according to the two defendants, who also claim that only the Court of Appeal, not any high court, has the power to reinstate the section into the Electoral Act.
Buhari and Malami sought the court to dismiss the PDP complaint, claiming that it had become academic and constituted an abuse of the court process because of the ongoing Court of Appeal case.
They contended that the PDP should not be permitted to take over the National Assembly’s activities since it lacks the authority to alter or enact legislation.
Buhari and Malami both stated that the PDP will face no consequences if the problematic portion is removed, claiming that doing so will enhance democracy and eliminate prejudice against public servants and public officeholders.
On March 7, Justice Inyang Eden Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja barred Buhari, the AGF, and the Senate President from meddling with the constitution.
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