The Supreme Court has struck out a suit filed by President Muhammad Buhari and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, challenging Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act.
The suit was sacked on Friday by a seven-judge bench of the Supreme Court led by Musa Dattijo-Muhammad.
The bench unanimously struck out the suit, saying that it was an abuse of the court process.
Delivering the lead judgment, Aokmaye Agim, held that Mr Buhari, having earlier assented to section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act 2022, cannot turn around to approach the court to strike it down.
“There is no provision in the constitution that vests the president the power to challenge the constitutionality or desirability of a legislation after he has assented or denied his assent. In this case, the president gave his assent,” Agim held.
He further ruled that the request by Buhari to the National Assembly to delete the provision amounted to constitutional violation.
Describing the suit as a ploy by Buhari and the AGF to get the court to validate the violation, Agim said,
“The president has no power to request or compel the national assembly to amend any part of the Act of the National Assembly in which he has participated in its making.”
He added, “This suit cannot be entertained by this court under section 1(1) (a) of the Additional Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court Act. “
Other members of the panel are Dattijo-Muhammad, John Okoro, Amina Augie, Lawal Garba and Ibrahim Saulawa.
On February 25, 2022, President Buhari signed the Electoral Act 2022 into law.
He later, in a letter to the National Assembly, asked the lawmakers to delete section 84(12) of the law on the grounds that it was unconstitutional and was made in excess of the powers of the National Assembly.
The request was rejected by the National Assembly.
Section 84(12) of the new Electoral Act stipulates 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.”
Buhari and Malami, following the refusal of the federal lawmakers to delete the section, filed the suit at the Supreme Court.
Joined as defendant in the suit was the National Assembly. However, the Rivers State government and the Nigerian Bar Association later obtained the court’s leave and were joined as defendants in the suit marked SC/CV/504/2022, and filed on April 29, 2022.