Update: Malami plans to delete Section 84(12) Of the Electoral Act

Update: Malami plans to delete Section 84(12) Of the Electoral Act

Abubakar Malami, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice,  has declared that relevant government agencies are working on implementing the court order on the removal of Section 84 (12) from the Electoral Act.

Speaking with State House correspondents on Wednesday after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, Malami said the process was ongoing.

The Minister stated that there are necessary steps to be taken to ensure the court order is respected, adding that at the end of the day, all things must be done in accordance with the provisions of the law.

The section reads: “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.”

After signing the act, President Muhammadu Buhari had written the lawmakers to remove the section arguing that it violates the Constitution and breached the rights of government appointees but the National Assembly members declined the President’s request.

However, a Federal High Court sitting in Umahia, Abia State which was presided over by Justice Evelyn Anyadike on Friday 18th March, 2022 directed the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami to delete Section 84 (12) of the amended Electoral Act.

Justice Anyadike while calling on the minister to delete the section of the Electoral Amendment Act, noted that it is unconstitutional.

Malami said when asked by newsmen for an update on the ruling that; “My clear response arising therefrom is the fact that truly there exists a court judgment. By the judgment, the court directed the Office of the Attorney-General, to take the necessary steps to delete the provision, which in essence implies that the provision should not form part of our laws.”

He added that “Whether it has been deleted, or has not been deleted, is indeed a function of agencies of government and associated, relevant parasternal but the true position of it in that respect, is the fact that government printers, and indeed Law Reform Commission, among others, that are responsible for the codification and getting of our laws, are working naturally, hand in hand with the Office of the Attorney-General for the purpose of ensuring that what goes into our laws are indeed in line with the provision of the law.

“So what I am saying in essence, it is indeed a work in progress against the background of the fact that the Law Reform Commission is involved statutorily, which is a parasternal under the Office of the Attorney-General, is a party to the process of codification. The government printers, which are saddled with the responsibility of getting our laws on the request of the Office of the Attorney-General is equally involved”.

“Above all, as you rightly stated, the possibility of an appeal is equally there. So, what I am saying in effect is deletion of section 84 Subsection 12 is a work in progress and is being considered as such.”

President Muhammadu Buhari, had raised an objection against the section at the point of signing the revised Electoral Act on February 25, 2022, noting that it stands in direct contravention of the 1999 Constitution (amended).

Besides, both the Senate and the House of Representatives have moved to appeal the court order and instructed the Minister of Justice to stay action on deleting the section from the electoral act.

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