House of reps unaware of Electoral Act suit – spokesperson

Benjamin Kalu, the spokesperson for the house of representatives has said they were unaware of the suit on the Electoral Act 2022.

Kalu, while speaking to journalists, said the lower parliament was not notified of the suit and it was not even sure if it was a party to it.

The Cornet reports Evelyn Ayandike, a judge of the Federal High Court, in Abia State, ruled on Friday that the federal government should delete section 84(12)  from the Electoral Act.

Ayandike said the act contradicts relevant sections of the Nigerian Constitution on when political appointees should resign to contest elective politics.

The constitution, the judge holds, stipulates that such appointees leave office 30 days before an election, as against the amended electoral Act’s 180 days.

Kalu, in his reaction, said they only became aware of the judgement on social media. He differentiated appointees of government from public servants, while adding that the latter had become tools being used by elective office holders at party congresses and conventions.

“The house of representatives was not aware of this legal matter, was not served and is still unaware whether we were a necessary party to this matter or not,” he said.

“It is important also to note that it is out of place to comment on a judgment we are yet to see the certified true copy. We will make comment on this judgment once we receive the certified true copy to know the length and breadth of the judgment.

“But we have read from the social media and traditional media platforms that the judgment borders on section 84(12) of the electoral act.

“We will like to know — when we get the CTC — who represented us (house of representatives), who served us, when, and all those technicalities.

“It is important also to let Nigerians know the mindset of the legislature while drafting section 84(12). The section bothers on issues affecting our intention to carry out excellent electoral reforms.

READ ALSO: May judiciary not destroy Nigeria, says Adegoruwa in reaction to Electoral Act ruling

“As you know, for electoral reforms to be efficient, effective, transparent, accountable, inclusive, competitive, and fair, it has to be credible. And if any element of this is missing at any point — pre-election processes, election processes, post-election processes — towards achieving credible election, it affects the whole picture.

“That was why we wanted to address the conduct of appointees of political office holders who are used as tools during conventions and congresses that gives birth to who becomes a candidate in the general election or who not to be a candidate.

“We wanted to give a level playing ground for those who have been in government not to use the undue advantage of being in government while running for an office, so that they will be at par with those who are not occupying office and going for the same position.

“It has nothing to do with a public servant. I said it because I hear that many have argued that it offends the provision of the constitution on how to be qualified or disqualified for an election. That is for public servants.

“We are talking about political appointees and section 318 defines what a public servant is. It does not include political appointees. So, the ability to differentiate between these two will help us understand what the electoral act is trying to do as against what is being roped in as what it is trying to do.

“When we get the judgment, we will know whether that differentiation was clear or if it was not clear.”

Meanwhile, the attorney-general of the federation, Abubakar Malami, has said he would execute the judgement without delay. Malami, who is rumoured to nurse a political ambition, had earlier said the government would, among other options, challenge the national assembly over its reluctance to delete the contentious section of the Electoral Act.


Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button