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  • Updated: March 22, 2022

Electoral Act: Senate SeT To Debate Over Controversial Section 84

Electoral Act: Senate SeT To Debate Over Controversial Secti

The Senate, will, on Wednesday, debate the ruling of a Federal High Court sitting in Umuahia, Abia, which nullified the controversial Section 84 (12) of the amended Electoral Act.

This followed a point of order raised by Senator George Sekibo (PDP-Rivers) during the plenary on Tuesday.

The section requires ministers, heads of agencies and other political appointees to resign before participating in primaries, conventions and other electoral activities.

The court had on March 18, nullified Section 84(12) of the newly amended Electoral Act, saying it was a violation of the provisions of the Constitution.

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”.

Sekibo, while invoking Senate Orders 10 and 11 which is on privileges said the electoral law emanated from the National Assembly, therefore the parliament should be joined as a party in the suit.

“What the judge relied on is not an interpretation of the Constitution. The Constitution defines for us who is a civil servant and who is a public servant.

“It does not include political appointees. Moreso, Section four gives us the power to make laws.

“If in the course of doing our job we find Section 84(12) as enshrined in the Electoral Act just assented to is for the good interest of the people, I don’t think somebody should go to court without joining the Senate or the House of Representatives where this law emanated from.

“So if you think it is faulty, you take us to court. We did not know, we were not told they just went there and got a judgement destroying our work over one year.”

He, therefore, moved that the issue be discussed during the plenary today (Tuesday) to avoid setting bad precedence on laws enacted by the federal parliament.

The motion was supported by Senator Chukwuka Utazi (PDP-Enugu).

However, Deputy Senate President Ovie Omo-Agege who presided over the plenary, suggested that the debate on the issue be postponed to Wednesday since Senate President Ahmad Lawan and many other lawmakers were absent.

The said section provides that, “No political appointee at any level shall be a voting delegate or be voted for at the Convention or Congress of any political party for the nomination of candidates for any election."

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