On Thursday, the Supreme Court granted Rivers State’s request to be added as a party to the litigation filed by President Muhammadu Buhari, the Attorney-General of the Federation, and the Minister of Justice to overturn section 84(12) of the Electoral Act, 2022.
A seven-member panel of the Supreme Court, chaired by Justice Musa Dattijo, granted Rivers State’s joinder application through the Speaker of the House of Assembly and the Attorney-General, while deferring the case’s hearing until May 26.
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The applicants told the court that they were opposed to the SC/CV/504/2022 litigation, which had the National Assembly as the sole respondent at the time.
President Buhari and Malami had petitioned the Supreme Court, claiming that section 84(12) of the Electoral (Amendment) Act, 2022, is incompatible with sections 42, 65, 66, 106, 107, 131, 137, 147, 151, 177, 182, 192, and 196 of the constitution, as well as Article 2 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.
They are among other things, seeking, “a declaration that the joint and or combined reading of Section 65, 66, 106, 107, 131, 137, 147, 151, 177, 182, 192 and 196 of the Constitution, the provision of Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act, 2022 which also ignores Section 84(3) of the same Act, is an additional qualifying and/or disqualifying factors for the National Assembly, House of Assembly, Gubernatorial and Presidential elections as enshrined in the said constitution, hence unconstitutional, unlawful, null and void”.
“A declaration that the defendant’s legislative powers do not permit or empower it to make any other law prescribing additional qualifying/disqualifying grounds for election to the national assembly, house of assembly, gubernatorial, or presidential election outside of the express constitutional qualification and disqualification provisos, having regard to the clear provision of section 1(3) of the Constitution read together with section 4 of the same Constitution.”
“An order nullifying the provision of Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act, 2022, by application of the blue-pencil rule, for being unconstitutional, illegal, null and void, and having been made in excess of the defendant’s legislative powers as enshrined in section 4 of the constitution (as amended),” according to the complaint.
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