Court Stops NASS from Passing Amended 2018 Electoral Bill into Law

Justice Ahmed Mohammed of a Federal High Court in Abuja, Wednesday, restrained the National Assembly from taking steps to pass into law the amended Electoral Bill, 2018, which reordered the 2019 election sequence
Justice Ahmed Mohammed who granted the preservative order specifically ordered the defendants to maintain status quo ante belum pending the next adjourned date fixed for Tuesday 20, March, 2018.
Justice Mohammed gave the order while delivering ruling on an oral application for preservative order brought by the plaintiff (Accord Party), seeking the court’s intervention on the matter.
The Judge ruled that there was need to preserve the res of the matter.
“In view of the provisions of section 58, subsection 5 of the 1999 constitution which empowers the National Assembly to veto the President withholding of his assent by a two-third majority votes, the court is simply to preserve the res in other to safeguard the integrity of the court and the sanctity of the judiciary under section 6 (6) of the 1999 constitution.
“The parties are therefore ordered to maintain status quo ante belum between now and the next adjourned date. Hearing notice are to be served on the second defendant who is absent in court “, he ruled.
In the motion, filed pursuant to order 26, rules 1, 2$3 and order 18, rule 1 of the Federal High Court, the plaintiff prayed for an interlocutory injunction restraining the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from assenting to the Electoral Act amendment bill, 2018 as passed by the 1st defendant, pending the final determination of the substantive originating summons.
Secondly, the plaintiff had sought a further order of interlocutory injunction restraining the 1st defendant (National Assembly) from taking any further action or actions on the bill titled, ‘Electoral Act amendment bill, 2018, particularly, to convene to pass the said bill by two-third majority of each of its two Chambers, pending the final determination of the substantive originating summons.
In the originating summon marked FHC/ABJ/CS/232/2018, the plaintiff laid 8 issues for determination by the court
The include : “Having regards to the combined provisions of sections 79,116,118,132,153,160(1) and 178 of the 1999 constitution as amended, the constitution read together with paragraph 15(a) of the third schedule to the same constitution, whether the 3rd defendant ( Independent National Electoral Commission) is not the only institution or body constitutionally vested with the powers and vires to organized, undertake and supervised elections to the offices of the President, the Vice President of the federal republic of Nigeria, the Governor and Deputy Governor of a state, the membership of the Senate, the House of Representatives and the House of Assembly of each state of the federation, including fixing the sequence and dates of the elections to the said offices?
Considering the combined provisions of sections 79,116,118,132,153,160(1) and 178 of the 1999 constitution as amended, the constitution read together with paragraph 15(a) of the third schedule to the same constitution, whether the 1st defendant (National Assembly) possesses the powers ans vires to propose any bill or pass any bill into an Act which directs or purport to direct, mandates, or purport to mandate, dictates or purport to dictate to the 3rd defendant to follow a particular sequence in the organization and conduct of elections to the offices of President and vice president, the Governor and deputy governor of a state, the membership of the Senate, the House of Representatives and the House of Assembly of each state of the federation?
Whether having regard to the exercise by the 3rd defendant of its powers and in furtherance of its function and duty to organize, undertake and supervise all elections to the offices of the President and Vice President, the Governor and Deputy Governor of a state, the membership of the Senate, the House of Representatives and the House of Assembly of each state of the federation, as prescribed by sections 76(1), 116(1), 132(1), 153(1)(f) and 178(1) and sections 25 and 30 of the Electoral Act, 2010 and having come out with or announced a schedule or time table for 2019, general election, the 1st defendant can later make a law to re-order, or prescribed a schedule inconsistent with the schedule or order earlier on made by the 3rd defendant under legislation which were at the time of the exercise valid and extant ?
The plantiff further asked for “a declaration that the 3rd defendant is the only body and or institution constitutionally vested with the powers, vires and duties to organize, undertake and supervise elections to the offices of the President and Vice President, the Governor and Deputy Governor of a state, the membership of the Senate, the House of Representatives and the House of Assembly of each state of the federation, including fixing or assigning dates for the said elections and the sequence of same.”
The plaintiff is therefore asking the court for an Order setting aside clause 25 of the Electoral Amendment Bill, 2018
An order of perpetual injunction restraining: “The President of the Fedral Republic of Nigeria, represented by the second defendant, from assenting to the electoral act amendment bill, 2018 as passed by the first defendant.
” The 1st defendant from passing into law, by a two third majority, or any majority at all the said bill as already passed by it.”
When the case was mentioned, counsel to the plaintiff, Wole Olanipekun (SAN), told the court that the defendants were served with the originating summons on March 12, 2018 and as such prepared to go ahead with their argument.
However, counsel to the 1st defendant, Chinelu Ogbazor, argued that the motion was not ripe for hearing, going by the rules of the court that requires a time frame of 48 hours after service before it can be heard.
The counsel in addition said the 1st defendant is entitled to seven days within which it can respond to any motion, and with the permission of the court would be asking for a short adjournment to prepare their reply to the motion.
However, Taminu Inuwa, counsel to the 3rd defendant did not oppose to the hearing of the motion.
Responding to the request for an adjournment, Olanipekun however noted that the plaintiff would not be opposing the request if the counsel to the 1st defendant would give an undertaken that his client ( National Assembly) would not take any action that would affect the res of litigation until the determination of the matter.
But, Ogbazor declined to take any undertaken, stressing that the time given by law to respond to the motion has not elapsed, adding that it was served with the court process less than 48 hours ago.
Her refusal prompted the plaintiff to move an oral application for a preservative order.
Olanipekun contended that following the refusal of the President to assent to the bail, the National Assembly with the powers vested in it can go ahead and override the President and thereby pass the bill into law while the matter is pending.
The matter was adjourned till March 20.

Author: News Editor

7714 stories / Browse all stories

Related Stories »

Provide your email below, and we will notify you the latest news freely.

sjdating    

calendar »

March 2018
M T W T F S S
« Feb   Apr »
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031