Electoral Act 2022: 'Why Shouldn't Senators Resign Too?' - Minister's Aide Questions New Law| isyaku.com

A political appointee has questioned the rationale behind the Electoral Act Section 84(12) 2022 which bars political appointees from voting or being voted for but allows serving legislators to enjoy the privilege.

Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act says “No political appointee at any level shall be 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.”

This section of the act contradicts the Nigerian Constitution which allows appointees to vote or be voted for as long as they resign their positions at least 30 days to the election.

This is why Justice Evelyn Anyadike of the Federal High Court, Umuahia, had on March 18 held that” Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act,2022 cannot validly and constitutionally limit, remove, abrogate. disenfranchise, disqualify and oust the constitutional right or eligibility of any political appointee, political or public office holder to vote or be voted for at any convention or congress of any political party for the purposes of nomination of such person or candidate for any election where such person has ‘resigned, withdrawn, or retired’ from the said political or public office, at least 30 days before the date of the election.”

The judge had nullified the section and ordered the Office of the Attorney- General of the Federation to delete it from the act but the National Assembly has vowed to appeal the judgment, accusing the judiciary of interfering with the function of the legislature.

But Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, has said the law is discriminatory since public office holders like commissioners or ministers are to resign while allowing members of the National Assembly to vote or be voted for.

He said no law should violate the rights of Nigerians who are in public offices whether appointed or elected.

He wrote via his Whatsapp line:

“My question is why should, for instance, only an SA, SSA, Commissioner and other appointees resign while a Member of the National/State Assembly and others elected should not do so before contesting for any election?

“The elected and appointed have similar qualifications and stance. By virtue of Section 151(3) all appointed shall cease to hold office when the elected officer i.e President cease to hold office.

“By virtue of Section 147(5) one can be appointed a Minister only if she/he is qualified for election… Most of those appointed as Ministers were either elected officers or those who qualified and stood for election.

“Why the discrimination? Both appointed and elected should resign before contesting for any post.

“The rational behind the resignation before contesting seems to be to avoid using a position to confer undue advantage. Both elected and appointed are prone to that. To be just and fair both should be treated equally.

“Did the serving Senator resign before he contested for the “election”?

“By extension and all things being equal, both elected and appointed will serve during same time and have the same tenure.”

His reaction is coming after the AGF Abubakar Malami had described Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act as offensive.

The Whistler Nigeria

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