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Election Sequence: NASS Files Appeal Against Judgement

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The National Assembly has approached the Abuja Division of the Appeal Court to set aside a Federal High Court judgement, which held that it lacked the power to re-order the proposed sequence for the 2019 general elections.

In the appeal, the lawmakers are asking the appellate court to dismiss the claims of Accord Party, the plaintiff, in the lower court.

Justice Ahmed Mohammed of an Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, had in his judgement in a suit filed by Accord Party against National Assembly, Attorney- General of the Federation, and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), held that the election timetable earlier released by INEC, could not be altered by the legislature.

In the Notice of Appeal filed through its Lawyer, Mr. J.B Daudu, SAN, the lawmakers said the learned trial judge, erred in law when he assumed jurisdiction to entertain and determine the suit.

In particular, the lawmakers contended that, the trial judge failed to observe and apply the principles and doctrine of separation of powers.

According to the lawmakers, the trial judge wrongly failed to appreciate that, until the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2018 was passed into an Act by the exercise of the legislative power of the National Assembly to over-ride the veto or withholding of assent to the Bill by the President, the same remained inchoate and not capable of vesting a justiciable civil right or obligation on any person, including the plaintiff.

The lawmakers further contended amongst others, that the lower court wrongly interpreted the provisions of Section 4(8) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), so as to reach the conclusion that the Federal High Court was vested with jurisdiction to impugn a Bill perceived to be unconstitutional. “The lower court was further in error, when it relied on the certificate of the Clerk of the National Assembly pursuant to the Acts Authentication Act on the Bill (Exh ‘A’), as proof that the Bill’s constitutionality could be challenged in a superior court of law. The learned trial judge erred in law, when he failed to appreciate that the plaintiff’s suit (subject-matter of this Appeal), was not properly constituted and therefore, incompetent”, it stated.

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