March 01, (THEWILL) – President Muhammadu Buhari has written to the Senate to amend the newly-signed Electoral Act 2022.
The President in a letter addressed to the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, and read at the plenary on Tuesday, asked the lawmakers to consider the outright deletion of Section 84 (12).
President Buhari stated that the provision amounted to the disenfranchisement of political appointees.
THEWILL reports that President Buhari while signing the Electoral Bill into law, had highlighted the need to amend the section, which contravenes the rights of political office holders to vote, or be voted for in political party conventions and congresses.
“Distinguished Senators and Honourable Members of the National Assembly, from the review, it is my perspective that the substance of the Bill is both reformative and progressive.
“This, however, cannot be said about one provision as contained in the proposed Bill, which provision constitutes fundamental defect, as it is in conflict with extant constitutional provisions.
“Section 84 (12) constitutes a disenfranchisement of serving political office holders from voting or being voted for at Conventions or Congresses of any political party, for the purpose of the nomination of candidates for any election in cases where it holds earlier than 30 days to the National Election”, Buhari had said in a statement issued by his media Spokesman, Femi Adesina.
Quoting the section, “84(12) 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”, the President noted it had introduced qualification and disqualification criteria that ultra vires the Constitution by way of importing blanket restriction and disqualification to serving political office holders of which they are constitutionally accorded protection.”
The President noted that, “The practical application of section 84(12) of the Electoral Bill 2022 will, if assented to, by operation of law, subject serving political office holders to inhibitions and restrictions referred to under section 40 and 42 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
“It is imperative to note that the only constitutional expectation placed on serving political office holders that qualify, by extension, as public officers within the context of the constitution is resignation, withdrawal or retirement at least 30 days before the date of the election.
“Hence, it will be stretching things beyond the constitutional limit to import extraneous restrictions into the constitution on account of practical application of section 84(12) of the bill, where political parties’ conventions and congresses were to hold earlier than 30 days to the election.”