The Federal Government says it will go ahead to gazette the Electoral Act 2022, but remove the contentious Section 84 (12) of the law.
Dr Umar Gwandu, a spokesman for the office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, announced this in a statement on Friday.
He made the announcement hours after a Federal High Court sitting in Umuahia, Abia State ordered the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, to immediately delete the section of the Act.
“The office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice will accordingly give effect to the court judgment in line with the dictates of the law and the spirit of the judgment,” said Gwandu.
“The judgment of the court will be recognised by the government printers in printing the Electoral Act. The Act will be gazetted factoring the effect of the judgment into consideration and deleting the constitutionally offensive provision accordingly.
“The provision of Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act 2022 is not part of our law and will be so treated accordingly.”
According to Gwandu, the government’s action is in line with the dictates of Chapter 7, Part 4, Section 287 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) on enforcement of decisions that makes it a point of duty and obligation on all authorities and persons to have the judgment of the Federal High Court, among others, to be enforced.
President Muhammadu Buhari assented to the Electoral Act 2022 on February 25, following a series of attempts by the National Assembly to amend the nation’s electoral laws.
He had, however, objected to the provisions of Section 84 (12), which read, “No political appointee at any level shall be 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 President believes the section constitutes a disenfranchisement of serving political office holders from voting or being voted for at conventions or congresses of any political party, for the purpose of the nomination of candidates for any election in cases where it holds earlier than 30 days to the national election.
He later asked the Senate to amend the section of the Act, but the request was rejected by the lawmakers.