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BILL ON ELECTION SEQUENCE: Court orders Nat'l Assembly to stay further action

BILL ON ELECTION SEQUENCE: Court orders Nat'l Assembly to stay further action

The Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday restrained the National Assembly and other parties in a suit challenging the legitimacy of the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, 2018, from acting on the Bill pending the next hearing on the matter.

President Buhari, at various times, either rejected the bills or did not communicate his decision to the House after the stipulated 30 days.

The protesting youths converged at the Unity Fountain in Abuja on Wednesday morning and thereafter marched to the entrance of the Presidential Villa bearing placards with various inscriptions.

The Electoral Act amendment Bill seeks to reorder the sequence with which the Independent National Electoral Commission should conduct the 2019 general elections.

The court, in a ruling delivered by Justice Ahmed Mohammed, ordered all the parties to maintain status quo antebellum, "at least between now and the next adjourned date".

"The amendment to Section (138) of the Principal Act to delete two crucial grounds upon which an election may be challenged by candidates unduly limits the rights of candidates in elections to a free and fair electoral review process and the amendments to section 152 (3)-(5) of the Principal Act, may raise constitutional issues over the competence of the National Assembly to legislate over Local Government elections".




The judge, however, stated that no time frame had been stipulated within which the National Assembly should convene and form two third majority to pass the law.

Mohammed said that he was making the order to preserve the sanctity and integrity of the court adding that he was not granting the motion on the face of the application.

Wole Olanipekun, counsel to the party, had prayed the court for a "preservative order".

Responding to the request for an adjournment, Olanipekun however noted that the plaintiff would not be opposing the request if the counsel to the 1st defendant would give an undertaken that his client ( National Assembly) would not take any action that would affect the res of litigation until the determination of the matter.

The plaintiff is claiming "a declaration that the legislative powers vested in the national assembly by the constitution do not empower or imbue it with the right, liberty or authority to pass or purport to pass any bill into Law".

The matter was adjourned till March 20.


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