Malami ill-advised Buhari on Electoral Act, says Senate spokesman
By TUNDE JOSHUA, ABUJA
- Says S’Court verdict vindicates N’Assembly
- Adeyemi hails apex judgement
Lawmakers have hailed Friday’s judgement by the Supreme Court dismissing the suit initiated by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari. However, they accused Malami of wrongly advising the President on the case.
Senate spokesperson/chairman, Committee on Media and Publicity, Senator Ajibola Basiru, described the judgement dismissing the suit brought against section 84(12) of the Electoral act 2022 as a vindication of the National Assembly.
Buhari and the Attorney-General of the Federation and Malami had filed a suit at the Supreme Court, seeking an interpretation of the controversial clause in the Electoral Amendment Act 2022.
In the suit filed on April 29, the plaintiffs listed the National Assembly as the sole defendant.
Section 84 (12) has been a subject of intense litigation and political debate in Nigeria since President Buhari signed the amended Electoral Act 2022 into law in February this year.
Shortly after signing it into law, Buhari had urged the parliament to delete the controversial clause in the Electoral Act, but the National Assembly declined the president’s request.
According to Section 84 (12) of the legislation, “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 purpose of the nomination of candidates for any election.”
The suit came weeks after the Federal High Court in Umuahia, Abia State, struck out Section 84 (12) on the ground that it was in conflict with some sections of the Nigerian constitution.
The Supreme Court on Friday expunged the case on the grounds that it lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the suit and is an abuse of court process.
Basiru had blamed the Attorney general for always giving the President legal advise that cannot stand the test of judgement.
“The judgement of the Supreme Court just validate some of our opinions that the President is not receiving very sound legal advise from the office of the attorney general.
“Like he was also misled over the issue of grazing roots in the past, the same thing, having assented to a bill, the same President cannot go ahead to seek to delete an aspect of the bill.
“So we hope the President will be alive to getting second opinion on legal matters so that the Federal Government would not be embarrassed on plain legal matters that are very elementary.
When asked on the position of the National Assembly over the judgement he said, it shows that the judgement did not consider the constitutionality or otherwise of section 84(12) and so the court declined to invalidate the law that means that the law still stands as at today.
“Section 84(12) still stand as part of the extant laws of the country and that any political party that does not comply with the provision does so at his own peril.
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“I also know that for instance notwithstanding the case filed by the Attorney General even the President complied with the law by asking his appointees to resign and they resign and those of them that resigned were not even reappointed.
“So in terms of the implementation of the law the President and the political parties implemented the law so one would not know what was the interest of the Attorney General litigating the provision that had been complied with by even his President and the political party.
In the same vein, the senator representing Kogi West, Smart Adeyemi applauded the apex court for throwing out the suit.
Adeyemi at the weekend in a telephone chat said the judgement has affirmed the doctrine of the seperation of powers. President Muhammadu Buhari and the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, had filed a suit at the Supreme Court, seeking an interpretation of the controversial clause in the Electoral Amendment Act 2022.
Adeyemi said, “everyone now knows the limit of his powers, that is what the supreme Court has just done. To tell the executive that this is the limit of their own powers so they should not delve in to the powers of the legislature just like the judiciary must be respected.
“So this is a far reaching judgements. It would allow every arm of Government to know the limit of its powers so that you don’t infringe on another person’s constitutional responsibility as it is entrenched in the constitution the powers of each arm of Government.
“I think this will guide the executive now and forever in the way and manner people use their position.
“The clause was meant to safeguard and ensure that nobody will have any advantage over others in a democratic setting that is just what we wanted to achieve by that clause and I think this judgement has affirmed our position and it shows we have done the right thing.
“I was one of those who actually contributed to the debate on that section at the committee level and at the floor of the senate. I have been filling the development with keen interest.
“The section was inserted based on people taking advantage of their position as members of the executive to contest election. Those were what informed our position and I think it is better that way.
“We thank the judiciary for doing what is right for the country.
“It is not for the executive to make laws, it is for legislators to make laws, that is why they were elected in the first place where we have 360 house of Representatives and 109 senators can we all be wrong. It is very clear for me I am delighted with the judgement by the supreme Court.”
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