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Supreme Court Strikes Out President Buhari’s Suit Against Electoral Act

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The supreme court, on Friday struck out the suit President Muhammadu Buhari and the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, filed to void section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act, 2022. In a judgement, a seven-member panel of the apex court, headed by Justice Musa Dattijo Mohammed, was unanimous in holding that President Buhari, having participated in the making of the law by assenting to it, could not turn around to fault its provisions. The court, which upheld the objections raised by the National Assembly and other defendants against the suit, declined to determine it on the merit but declared that the Supreme Court lacked the jurisdiction to hear it and that the suit was an abuse of court process.

It held that The Plaintiffs, among other things, sought “a declaration that the joint and or combined reading of Section 65, 66, 106, 107, 131, 137, 147, 151, 177, 182, 192 and 196 of the Constitution, the provision of Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act, 2022 which also ignores Section 84(3) of the same Act, is an additional qualifying and/or disqualifying factors for the National Assembly, House of Assembly, Gubernatorial and Presidential elections as enshrined in the said constitution, hence unconstitutional, unlawful, null and void”.

“A declaration that having regard to the clear provision of section 1(3) of the Constitution read together with section 4 of the same Constitution, the legislative powers vested in the defendant do not permit or empower it to make any other law prescribing additional qualifying/disqualifying grounds for election to the national assembly, house of assembly, gubernatorial and presidential election outside the express constitutional qualification and disqualification provisions as already provided in each or all of sections 65, 66, 106, 107, 131, 137, 147, 151, 177, 182, 192 and 196 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), and without amendment to any of those sections is for the reason of inconsistency, unconstitutional and therefore null and void.

As well as, “An order nullifying the provision of Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act, 2022 by application of the blue-pencil rule, for being unconstitutional, illegal, null and void and having been made in excess of the legislative powers of the defendant as enshrined in section 4 of the constitution (as amended).”

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