Section 84(12): Groups ask National Judicial Council to probe Justice Anyadike
.Urge NASS to approach Supreme Court for interpretation
The Yoruba Stakeholders Summit Group (YSSG) and the Coalition of Pro-democracy Groups have charged the National Judicial Council (NJC) to probe Justice Evelyn Anyadike, of the Federal High Court, sitting in Umuahia, Abia State, for curiously nullifying the provisions of Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act 2022.
Rising from its expanded meeting held in Osogbo, Osun State on Monday, the groups in a communiqué jointly signed by Comrade Ologun Ayodeji (YSSG) and Ganzallo Gbenga Antonio (CPG), urged President Muhammadu Buhari to call the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, to order and also order an investigation into the roles played by politicians in the controversial judgment.
Justice Anyadike had held in a judgment that provisions of Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act 2022 was unconstitutional, invalid and illegal, thereby empowering Malami to delete the section from the Act.
The section in question bars political appointees at any level from voting or being voted for in primary elections of political parties.
The groups said while it recognised that a court of law has the power to strike down any provision of a statute, it said that it considered the ruling as another in the series of attempts by some politicians to perpetuate themselves in office and advance their individual ambitions.
The statement read: “As Nigerians and key stakeholders in the electoral process, we take strong exception to the ruling of the Federal High Court, Umuahia over this matter.
“We wish to state that there was a miscarriage of justice in the ruling, particularly as it regards the sections of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria relied upon in the ruling, that is, Sections 66 (1) (f), 107(1) (f),137 (1) (f) and 182 (1) (f)
“We considered the ruling as another in the series of attempt by some politicians to perpetuate themselves in office, most importantly for the reasons of spending funds and other resources of the state in advancing their individual ambitions.
“The provisions of the section 84 is very clear and simple enough, even to the least knowledgeable, and the options available for the political appointees, especially those behind this infamous Abia Federal High Court ruling, is either to retain their current political office or to seek elective office, but certainly they cannot combine both.”
The groups disclosed that Justice U. N. Agomoh of the Ibadan Division of the Federal High Court has dismissed a suit seeking the deletion of Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act which bars serving political appointees from participating in the convention of political parties for want of jurisdiction a day earlier, adding that the same Federal High Court in Umuahia saw nothing wrong in directing the honourable Attorney-General of the Federation to delete it from the Act immediately, in a manner, that gives serious suspicion of compromise.
“We are worried that the court did not in any way consider the need for participation by other stakeholders including the National Assembly before arriving at the hurriedly delivered ruling.
“As law abiding citizens, we have therefore resolved to demand for a probe of Justice Evelyn Anyadike of the Federal High Court Umuahia by the National Judicial Council without further delay. We are convinced that there is more than meet the eyes with that particular ruling of her court, especially with the speed with which the suit was filed, processes exchanged and judgment delivered.
“As guardians of democracy, we are urging President Muhammadu Buhari, to immediately call the AGF to order and order a thorough investigation into the role played by politicians, especially those nursing presidential ambition within his party, in this unfortunate attack on our law.
“We commend the All Progressives Congress for not allowing its recent national convention to be used to condone arbitrariness and disregard for our law by his decision to exempt aspiring members of the party from participating as delegates at the convention.
“We urge the National Assembly to immediate approach the Supreme Court to seek due clarification and interpretation of the controversial ruling over Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act,” the communiqué read.