SEVEN-MEMBER Nigerian Supreme Court Justices, on Friday, threw out President Buhari, and the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami’s suit, against section 84(12) of the amended Electoral Act 2022, which provides that: “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.”
The Justices led by Musa Dattijo-Muhammad, and the judgement read by Justice Aokmaye Agim, stated that Buhari, having assented to section 84(12) of the Electoral Act 2022, “cannot turn around to approach the court to strike it down”; and held that the suit was incompetent and lacked merit. The supreme court further described the suit as “an abuse of court process” and dismissed it.
“There is no provision in the constitution that vests the president the power to challenge the constitutionality or desirability of a legislation after he has assented or denied his assent. In this case, the president gave his assent”, the judgement, further stated.
February 25, 2022, President Buhari signed the Electoral Act 2022, into law. Thereafter, he wrote the National Assembly to delete section 84(12) of the law, premising his request that the provision was unconstitutional, and in excess of the power of the National Assembly.
The National Assembly rejected and thew out the president’s request. Peeved by the action of the lawmakers, Buhari and his Minister of Justice and Attorney-General, Abubakar Malami, headed to the Supreme Court for adjudication; and joined the National Assembly as sole defendant. Nigerian Bar Association and Rivers State, joined as defendants.
Buhari’s request to the National Assembly to delete the provision, the Supreme Court stated, amounted to constitution violation, and the court cannot “validate the violation.” And “The president has no power to request or compel the national assembly to amend any part of the Act of the National Assembly in which he has participated in its making”.
“This suit cannot be entertained by this court under section 1(1) (a) of the Additional Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court Act”, the Supreme Court further ruled.
Analysts noted, that by this judgement, and similar judgements by the apex court, the era of solid support, growth and expansion of Nigeria’s democracy is emerging.