- An Abuja high court is reportedly set to deliver judgment on the election sequence re-ordering
- The controversial bill was proposed by the National Assembly but rejected by President Buhari
- Though the lawmakers had revised the bill, they want the court to affirm that the National Assembly has the power to alter elections sequence
The court of appeal in Abuja will on Wednesday, August 1(today) deliver judgment in a case bordering on the dispute over the power of the National Assembly to set the sequence of the general elections through the amendment of the Electoral Act.
A five-man panel of the court led by its President, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, had reserved judgment after hearing all parties to the appeal through their respective lawyers on July 19, The Punch reports.
Justice Bulkachuwa had said the date of the judgment was to be communicated to the lawyers.
The newspaper said some lawyers involved in the case confirmed on Tuesday, July 31, that the court’s hearing notices slating the judgment for Wednesday had been served on the counsel representing all the parties to the appeal.
The appeal was filed by the National Assembly against the April 25, 2018 judgment of the Federal High Court in Abuja, which had voided the elections’ sequence provision of the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, 2018.
The controversial provision in the said bill sought to alter the sequence in which the presidential, governorship, the federal and state legislative houses’ elections must be conducted.
But the National Assembly later expunged the provision from the bill following the judgment of the Federal High Court.
It then sent the revised version of the bill without the controversial provision to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent.
However, it filed an appeal against the Federal High Court’s judgment insisting that despite removing the controversial provision from the bill, it had the power to alter the sequence of the polls.
In their response, the Accord Party, which instituted the suit that gave rise to the April 25 judgment of the Federal High Court, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami (SAN); and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) represented by Femi Falana (SAN), had at the hearing of July 19, opposed the appeal.
The trio of the Accord Party, the AGF and INEC, argued through their respective lawyers, that the appeal had been overtaken by the event and so should be dismissed by the court of appeal.
They argued that the appeal was no longer relevant since the National Assembly had sent to President Buhari for assent a fresh Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, 2018 from which the controversial section 25 had been removed.
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Meanwhile, the national chairman of the National Action Council (NAC), Olapade Agoro, has called on INEC to de-register all political parties perceived to be corrupt.
Agoro on Monday, July 30, asked the Federal High Court to make an order for the INEC to de-register all political parties whose members admitted they collected N100 million from the previous administration.
In a suit filed against four major political parties in Nigeria, Agoro prayed the court to admit all the confessions made by the members of the parties earlier that they collected the money before the 2015 general elections.
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