Electoral Act: Court orders Malami to remove controversial section on political appointees

Abubakar Malami

A Federal High Court in Umuahia, Abia State has ordered the attorney-general of the federation (AGF) Abubakar Malami to immediately delete Section 84 (12) of the Amended Electoral Act, signalling a major victory for the Presidency.

The much-contested section had stipulated that “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.”

Ruling on Friday, Justice Evelyn Anyadike held that the section was unconstitutional, invalid, illegal, null, void and of no effect whatsoever and cannot stand, as it is in violation of the clear provisions of the Constitution.

Justice Anyadike further stated that Sections 66(1)(f), 107(1)(f), 137(1)(f) and 182(1)(f) of the 1999 Constitution already stipulated that appointees of government seeking to contest elections were only to resign at least 30 days to the date of the election and that any other law that mandated such appointees to resign or leave office at any time before that was unconstitutional, invalid, illegal null and void to the extent of its inconsistency to the clear provisions of the Constitution.

While signing the Electoral Bill into law last month, President Muhammadu Buhari had asked the National Assembly to delete Section 84 (12).

But the Senate refused, with lawmakers stressing that an amendment would be going against the civil service norms and would be injurious to the well-being of the society.