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Electoral Amendment: PDP Chieftain Backs N’Assembly’s Move to Appeal Judgment
Sylvester Idowu in Warri
A chieftain of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and former Delta State Governorship Aspirant, Chief Sunny Onuesoke, has thrown his weight behind the move by members of National Assembly to appeal the judgment of a Federal High Court, Umuahia, Abia State, whose judgment directed the removal of Section 84(12) from the Electoral Act.
The Federal High Court (FHC), Umahia had on March 18, ruled that the section was at variance with the constitution which provides that public officers contesting public office should only resign 30 days to an election.
The court ordered the Attorney-General of the Federation to delete Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act which bars all political appointees including ministers, commissioners and aides from contesting or voting in any party primary.
However, members of National Assembly have begun moves to thwart the actions of those bent on removing Section 84(12) from the Electoral Act 2022 by making appealing against the Umuahia Court judgment.
Reacting to the move of the legislatures while addressing journalist in Asaba yesterday, Onuesoke commended the members of the National Assembly for taking the lead in complying with Section 84(12), adding that those in favour may say the duty of the court is to interpret the law, but they should remember that interpreting the law does not confer the judge the right to amend the law.
“A court can interpret a law and cannot make laws. If the portion of the law is contradictory, it has to be referred to the makers and not any other entity. If the law is in confliction, the court was supposed to say so and not ask AGF to delete it. AGF or Judge cannot delete or change any law. Such law must pass through the law-making process which is the Legislature.
“The unanimous crafting of the Electoral Act and the contentious section represent the aspirations of majority of the citizens and the constituents they represent in the country. It could therefore be considered as mischievous for the judiciary to order that the section of the law which they also argued was not in contrast to the provision of the constitution be expunged by the AGF, he said.
The PDP chieftain, who described the judgment as an “aberration” and urged lawmakers to stand against it, argued that delivery of the judgment was unacceptable.
He alleged that the hurried manner the case was heard and judgment delivered within 10 days thus making history as the quickest suit to be heard and determined in Nigeria’s judicial history makes it more suspicious.