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Nwabueze tasks presidency on dispute over sequence of elections


Benjamin Obiefuna Nwabueze

Elder statesman and constitutional lawyer, Prof. Benjamin Nwabueze (SAN), has asked the Presidency to dissociate itself from any move aimed at hindering the National Assembly of its constitutional power to override its veto on sequence of elections.
Nwabueze’s call was encapsulated in his paper titled: “Sequel to the disagreement between the National Assembly and INEC over the sequence or order of elections”, and obtained by The Guardian yesterday.

He noted that the disagreement between the National Assembly and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on the sequence or order of elections has given rise to a crisis situation that ranks among the strange happenings in the country.

According to him, the consequences of the power to override, after it is exercised, are another matter, but the exercise of the power in the first instance cannot be stopped because of the possible consequences of exercising it.
He stressed that the course of action open to opponents of the exercise of the power (i.e. power to override the veto) is to lobby support in the Assembly to prevent the bill from being re-passed by two-thirds majority, and not to stop the National Assembly through court injunction.

To dispel from the public mind the growing feeling that it (the Presidency), had a hand in stopping the exercise by the National Assembly of its constitutional power to override its veto, the Presidency, he said, should take steps to dissociate itself from that mischievous action, which could not have had the overall interest of the country at heart.
The constitutional law expert said the suit before the court filed by the Accord Party (AP) as plaintiff is not a justiciable suit because it is based on a bill that has not become law, and is not therefore governed by law in accordance with which the rights of the plaintiffs, if any, are to be determined.

“Not being a justiciable suit, the injunctive order issued by the court against the National Assembly is not a judicial decision, and is not binding on, or enforceable against the National Assembly; at best, it is an advisory opinion,” he noted.

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Benjamin NwabuezeINEC
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