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Supreme Court strikes out Buhari’s suit against Section 84(12) of Electoral Act

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THE Supreme Court has struck out a suit filed against Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act, 2022, by President Muhammadu Buhari and the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami.

In a unanimous decision by a seven-man panel led by Justice Muhammad Dattijo, the Supreme Court held that it lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the suit.

The apex court also held that the suit amounted to an abuse of the judicial process.

The Supreme Court further held that Buhari was not a proper person to approach it with such a suit, owing to the nature of the reliefs sought.

Delivering the lead judgment, Justice Aokmaye Agim noted that Buhari, having earlier assented to Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act 2022, cannot turn around to approach the court to strike it down.

“There is no provision in the Constitution that vests the President the power to challenge the constitutionality or desirability of legislation after he has assented or denied his assent. In this case, the President gave his assent,” Agim ruled.

He described the suit as a ploy by Buhari to get the court to validate the violation.

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“The President has no power to request or compel the National Assembly to amend any part of the Act of the National Assembly in which he has participated in its making.

“This suit cannot be entertained by this court under section 1(1) (a) of the Additional Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court Act,” he added.

Other panel members that consented to the lead judgment are Dattijo-Muhammad, John Okoro, Amina Augie, Lawal Garba and Ibrahim Saulawa.

Buhari, had, after signing the Electoral Act 2022 into law on February 25, 2022, asked the National Assembly to delete Section 84(12) of the law, arguing that it  was unconstitutional.

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 nominating candidates for any election.”

However, following the refusal of the National Assembly to comply with the request, Buhari and the AGF, on April 29, filed the suit marked SC/CV/504/2022 at the Supreme Court.

In the suit, the President and the AGF, with the National Assembly as respondents, asked the Supreme Court to nullify Section 84(12).

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