Electoral Act: Senate Flings Buhari’s Request to Amend Section 84(12)
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Senate on Wednesday threw out the request of President Muhammadu Buhari to amend section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act he signed into law a few days ago.
The clause prevents appointive political office holders from contesting for election from the party’s primary level without resigning.
The request was rejected after the Senate Leader, Mr Yahaya Abdullahi made the lead debate for the second reading of the bill on Wednesday.
The Senators kicked against it and voted no when put to voice votes by the Senate President, Mr Ahmad Lawan.
President Buhari last week wrote the upper chamber of the National Assembly seeking an amendment of section 84 (2) subsection 12 in the 2021 Electoral Act which states that no political appointee 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 any candidate for an election.
In the letter, he said the amendment was necessary as the clause constitutes a fundamental defect and leads to the disenfranchisement of political officeholders.
In his view, the section disenfranchises 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.
President Buhari stressed that the provision introduced qualification and disqualification criteria that ultra vires the Constitution by way of importing blanket restrictions to serving political officeholders.
The Federal High Court in Abuja in a ruling on Monday, March 7 stopped President Buhari, the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, and the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, from tampering with the newly signed amended Electoral Act 2022.
Ruling on an ex-parte application by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Justice Inyang Ekwo agreed with the counsel to the party, Mr James Onoja, that the Electoral Act has become a valid law and cannot be tampered with without following due process of law.