Electoral Act Amendment: Senate to Write Chief Justice of Nigeria

Electoral Act Amendment: Senate to Write Chief Justice of Nigeria

The Nigerian Senate has resolved to write the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen on the ruling of a Federal High Court restraining it (The Senate) from acting further on the amendment to the Electoral Act. At plenary today (Thursday), the Senate resolved on a point of order to that effect, which was

The Nigerian Senate has resolved to write the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen on the ruling of a Federal High Court restraining it (The Senate) from acting further on the amendment to the Electoral Act.

At plenary today (Thursday), the Senate resolved on a point of order to that effect, which was raised by Senate Minority leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio and supported by the Senate Leader, Senator Ahmad Lawan.

President Muhammadu Buhari, had in a letter read at plenary on Tuesday rejected putting his assent to the Amendment to Electoral Act Bill which among other things re-ordered the sequence of election from what was announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). He hinged his reasons on some constitutional breaches.

The Accord Party had dragged the National Assembly, the Attorney General of the Federation and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) before the court headed by Justice Ahmed mohammed, praying it to stop the National Assembly from re-ordering the sequence of the general election. The party is asking the court to determine whether INEC is not the only institution constitutionally vested with the powers to organise, undertake and supervise elections, including fixing the sequence of elections to various elective offices in the country.

Justice Ahmed Mohammed, sitting in Abuja, whose court is handling the matter, had on Wednesday, stopped the National Assembly from taking further action on the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, 2018.
The court, in a ruling delivered by Justice Ahmed Mohammed, asked all parties in the matter to maintain status quo antebellum, “at least between now and the next adjourned date.”

The presiding judge invoked section 6(6) of the 1999 constitution, as amended, which according to him, empowered the court to protect the Res (subject matter) of the substantive suit pending before it.
The Senate has, however, resolved to notify the Chief Justice of the restraining order in the spirit of separation of powers between the three arms of government. The Senate, in its proposed letter wants the Chief Justice to caution judicial Officers from granting orders/injunctions that negate the principle of separation of powers.

Hearing of the case is adjourned till Tuesday next week.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives yesterday (Wednesday) vowed to gazette the amended Electoral Act, which President Muhammadu Buhari refused to assent to. It said it will re-transmit the reordering of the election sequence for passage, even as it has commenced the process of vetoing the Peace Corps bill.

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