The Senate has rejected the bill that seeks to amend the Electoral Act.
The lawmakers, in a voice vote on Wednesday, unanimously opposed a motion that the bill is read and considered for a second time.
The bill is a response to a request from President Muhammadu Buhari.
He had, in February, asked the National Assembly to expunge Clause 84(12) of the Act. He made the request shortly after signing the legislation into law.
The clause reads: “No political appointee at any level shall be a 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.”
Buhari said the clause constituted 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.
But the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) sued the federal government, the Attorney-General of the Federation and the leadership of the National Assembly over fresh moves to tamper with the newly amended Electoral Act.
The party asked the court for an order of interim injunction restraining the president and other defendants from refusing to implement the duly signed Electoral Act or in any manner withholding the Electoral Act from being put to use including the provisions of section 84 (12) of the said Act pending the resolution of the suit – a request which was granted by the court on Monday.
The Tide source reported how the judge, Inyang Ekwo, in a ruling, said the Electoral Act having become a valid law could not be altered without following the due process of law.
The court restrained the president, the AGF, the National Assembly and other defendants in the suit from removing section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act or preventing it from being implemented for the purpose of the 2023 general elections.
The bill was read for the first time yesterday and the lawmakers were about to commence consideration for second reading when Adamu Aliero cited Order 52(5) to stop the Senate from considering the bill pending the time that the court would set aside the order on it.
In his response, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, said the fact that the court said the National Assembly should not tamper with Electoral Act 2022 as amended except through due process did not mean that the National Assembly could not consider the bill.
He also said the president and every other Nigerian had the right to ask for an amendment in any law.
“So for us to be specific to this particular request, the request was duly done and it is for us in the Senate to look at the request.
“We are at liberty to review the request, see if the arguments from the Executive are convincing enough. If the arguments are not convincing enough, members of the National Assembly could deny the request and that is how it is.
“I think we are not breaching any law. In fact, we are trying to promote democracy by doing this because one day someone would go to court and say the Senate and National Assembly should not sit.”
He ruled that the Senate would go ahead and debate the bill and the votes at the end of the deliberation would decide the fate of the bill.
Lawan was opposed by the Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, who said Lawan’s decision was not in the interest of democracy.
He urged his colleagues not to let the bill be read for a second time.
But the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, who was bent on convincing his colleagues to go ahead and consider the bill, said they swore to protect and defend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The framers of this Constitution knew that a day like this would come and notwithstanding, they clearly stipulated in the Constitution, those provisions dealing with qualification and disqualification.”
“I, therefore, rise to support that the motion as moved by the Senate Leader be allowed to go for second reading.”
An unconvinced Kogi senator, Smart Adeyemi, opposed the bill.
He said, “I disagree to reconsider a decision that has already been settled.”
When the matter was put to a voice vote, an overwhelming echo of “nay” filled the chamber – prompting Lawan to rule against the bill.
Earlier, the Senate president warned the judiciary against meddling in the affairs and processes of the legislature.
He had said Nigeria’s system of governance was based on separation of powers and as such, all arms of government were not supposed to venture into the activities of another.
He also said the court ruling would not stop the legislature from amending the bill again.
With the proposed amendment to the bill rejected, it is not clear if the lawmakers will re-present and reconsider it on another legislative session.
Sokoto Guber: PDP Loses At Tribunal
The Sokoto Governorship Election Petition Tribunal has affirmed the election of Ahmed Aliyu Sokoto as the duly elected governor of the state.
The three-man panel led by Justice Haruna Msheila in its ruling dismissed the petition of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and its candidate, Saidu Umar challenging the victory of the APC and its candidate, Ahmad Aliyu in the March governorship election.
In a unanimous judgment, the Tribunal Chairman, Justice Haruna Mshelia, said the Petitioners were unable to prove the six grounds formulated in the petition.
He said the grounds bordered on alleged ineligibility for Aliyu and Gobir to contest, falsification of certificates, variation of names, election frauds and non-compliance with electoral guidelines.
Msheila said the petitioners were unable to prove the allegations beyond reasonable doubt as required by law, saying 70 per cent of exhibits were out of context because they relate to State Assembly elections conducted on the same dates.
According to him, to prove forgery two different documents of persons needed to be presented while the variation of names issues was a settled Supreme Court provision.
He said three subpoena witnesses were not tenable as they were not makers of the documents from the alleged primary school while the other 28 polling units agents testified could not identify themselves along with their roles.
The Tribunal Chairman said the alleged 138 polling units frauds were not adduced to indicate substantial non-compliance of the elections marred the election outcome.
Mshelia added that the tribunal dismissed all the preliminary objections on competency to institute the case by the respondents as the petitioners duly linked the grounds in the petition.
He dismissed the petition for lack of merit and failure to prove the allegations by the petitioner.
Tribunal Upholds Kefas’ Election As Taraba Governor
The Taraba State governorship election petition tribunal sitting in Jalingo, yesterday, upheld the election of Agbu Kefas of the Peoples Democratic Party,(PDP) as the governor of the state.
The three-man panel headed by Justice G.A Sunmonu dismissed the petition jointly filed by the New Nigerian Peoples Party, NNPP, and its governorship candidate in the March 18, 2023 election, Professor Yahaya Sani, on the grounds of lack of sufficient evidence.
NNPP, and its gubernatorial candidate, had earlier filed a petition before the tribunal seeking the cancellation of the election which they alleged was characterised by irregularities.
Another relief sought by the NNPP and its guber candidate was for the tribunal to order a fresh election in the state.
The party also alleged non-compliance with the electoral Act 2022, as a major reason for its demand for the cancellation of the election.
The party, which also alleged that the incumbent governor of the state was not duly elected by a majority of lawful votes cast, earlier urged the tribunal to nullify the certificate of return issued to the governor by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
Delivering judgment, the panel unanimously ruled that the petition filed by both NNPP and its gubernatorial candidate lacked merit.
The three-man panel, collectively dismissed the petition, stating that the petitioners failed to justify the relief they sought.
Elated by the judgment, the Deputy Governor, Aminu Alkali, called on the NNPP and other opposition political parties in the state to join hands with the incumbent governor to move the state forward.
Also overwhelmed by the judgment, the counsels to the PDP, applauded the panel for the judgment.
Though the counsel of the NNPP could not be reached at the time of filing this report, a chieftain of the party who spoke with The Tide source, said he was hopeful that the party will appeal the judgment.
Nigeria@63: Lawmaker Urges Patience, Says Tinubu Won’t Disappoint Nigerians
The lawmaker representing Okitipupa/Irele Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon. Jimi Odimayo has called on Nigerians to exercise patience with the administration of President Bola Tinubu, assuring that salvation was near.
Odimayo who gave this assurance in a statement issued through his Director of Media and Publicity, Mr Kayode Fasua, noted the apparent hardship in the land, and drew a comparison in the allegory of labour-room pains and the subsequent joy in strapping a newborn baby.
Odimayo said “We all must reflect on how we got to this sorry pass as a nation, counting from the year of our independence in 1960 till date: how democracy was aborted for many years through military interventions and how we are again back on track trying to improve on our democratic skills.
“However, in spite of various hiccups ranging from maladministration to corruption and other unpatriotic practices, we should renew hope, especially now that a good leader with verifiable antecedent in the person of President Bola Tinubu is in the driver’s seat.
“Ours can be assessed in the allegory of labour room pains that must be experienced during childbearing, before the mother beams with smiles at successful delivery; and that is what obtains now in the attempt by President Tinubu to right many wrongs and put Nigeria on the path to political and socio-economic greatness,”
While urging Nigerians to exercise patience and team up with all arms of government to achieve desired results, the lawmaker also called on political officeholders to tighten their belts and bend to work as justification to the electorate’s mandate.
According to him, the ballot box is the nemesis for all political leaders who failed in their vow to deliver the dividends of democracy.
“The last general elections held up many lessons for the political class, that unlike in the past, the level of voters’ awareness has risen stunningly in geometric proportions, as the people are mostly no longer for vote-buying and rigging, but are determined to scrutinise the qualities of candidates seeking their votes,” he stressed.
Odimayo similarly assured the people of his Okitipupa/Irele constituency and the entire Ondo State citizenry that he had designed various empowerment programmes and had stepped up various social infrastructural development lobbies, all of which will start manifesting soon.
Niger Delta2 days ago
Delta Community Petitions Reps Over Police Brutality, Harassment
Niger Delta4 hours ago
Electricity: BEDC Protests E-Wallet Blocking In Edo
Business3 hours ago
FG Targets Rich Nigerians In New Tax Drive
News2 days ago
Trump Boycotts Republican Primary Debate
Business2 days ago
Seme Customs Intercepts 62 African Parrots On- Hawk
News3 hours ago
13% Derivation: Nine Oil Producing States Get N12.3bn In August
Nation2 hours ago
INEC Seeks Media Support For Peaceful Imo Guber
News2 days ago
Workers Demand Umahi’s Removal As Minister Locks 300 Staff Out For Lateness