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Appeal court sets aside judgement ordering deletion of Section 84(12) of amended Electoral Act

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Court case

The Court of Appeal Abuja Division has set aside the judgment of the Federal High Court in Umuahia which ordered the deletion of Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act 2022.

A three-member panel headed by Justice Hamma Barka while delivering judgement on Wednesday held that the Lower court had no jurisdiction to have entertained the case.

Recall the Umuahia court had declared invalid and unconstitutional section 84(12) of the amended Electoral Act and ordered the Attorney general of the Federation to delete it.

The appellate court held that Nduka Edede, the plaintiff lacked the locus standi to have instituted the suit.

The court also held that Mr Edede did not establish any cause of action that warranted him taking the matter to court.

Back story

  • The people’s Democratic Party had brought an ex-parte application before the federal high court Abuja challenging a directive given to the National Assembly by the president to remove section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act,
  • Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act provides that, “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 the nomination of candidates for any election.”
  • Following that application, Justice Iyang Ekwo of the federal high court on March 7, restrained the President, the AGF and the senate president from tampering with the 2022 Electoral Act recently signed into law.
  • The PDP sought an order of the court restraining the National Assembly from effecting President Buhari’s request to remove section 84 (12) from the Electoral Act.
  • However, on March 18, Justice Evelyn Anyadike ordered the Attorney General of the Federation to delete the said section from the amended electoral act.
  • She made the order following a suit filed by Mr Edede at the Umuahia division of the Federal High Court.she held that the section was “unconstitutional, invalid, illegal, null, void and of no effect whatsoever and ought to be struck down as it cannot stand when it is in violation of the clear provisions of the Constitution.”
  • The AGF who agreed with the court’s judgement released a statement saying the judgment of the court will be recognized by the government printers in printing the Electoral Act.
  • He noted that the Act will be gazetted factoring the effect of the judgment into consideration and deleting the constitutionally offensive provision accordingly.
  • Not satisfied with the ruling of the court, The National Assembly resolved that it will appeal the decision of the Court in Umuahia.
  • The PDP had also promised to appeal the decision of the Umuahia court.

What happened in court

In an appeal marked CA/OW/87/2022, the Peoples Democratic Party had sought to upturn the decision of the Umuahia court.

The Appellate court in it’s decision held that the said provision was unconstitutional because it violated Section 42 (1)(a) of the constitution and denied a class of Nigerian citizens their right to participate in election.

The appellate court held that Mr Edede, lacked the locus standi to have instituted the suit and did not establish any cause of action that warranted him taking the matter to court neither did he establish how he was affected by the said provision.

Consequently, the court struck out the suit filed by Mr Edede at the Umuahia court.