Indications have emerged that the National Assembly is uncomfortable with Friday’s court judgement voiding Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act and ordering its deletion forthwith.
Consequently, the legislative arm has started assembling a team of legal giants to study the judgment and advise it on the next line of action.
No less shocked by the court’s pronouncement are several senior lawyers who questioned the premise on which the judgment was based and the circumstances that birthed it.
But that is not the only issue with the act. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has also turned in its own assessment of the law, saying that some of its provisions are inimical to the electoral process.
The commission said it would seek practice direction on how to deal with the identified problems.
Meanwhile, the federal lawmakers listed their grouses with the court ruling as follow:
- The ruling amounts to the erosion of the independence of the Legislature.
- Neither the two chambers of the National Assembly nor the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was joined as a party to the application.
- No court can delete or repeal an Act but could void it.
- Since the ruling is still justiceable at the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, it is hasty for the Federal Government to gazette it.
“We were shocked by the decision of the court in a case we were not a party to. The National Assembly is already seeking legal advice on the next steps.
“Neither the two chambers of the National Assembly nor the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was joined in a fundamental suit like this.
“The decision of the Federal High Court will no doubt undermine the legislative powers of the National Assembly. It may also set a bad precedent.
“More importantly, no court has the power to repeal an Act of the National Assembly,” a principal officer who spoke on condition of anonymity told The Nation.
Responding to a question, the principal officer added: “The lawmakers have the right to seek redress in the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.”