Section 84(12): Court to hear PDP’s suit against Buhari, AGF others on May 24

An Abuja Division of the Federal High Court on Monday adjourned the suit filed by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) against President Muhammadu Buhari and others to May 24.

Justice Iyang Ekwo gave the date to enable parties in the suit to address him on the effect of the court of appeal judgement which declared section 84(12) unconstitutional.

Recall the court of appeal set aside the judgment of the Federal High Court in Umuahia which ordered the deletion of Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act 2022.

Back story

PDP had brought an ex-parte application before the federal high court Abuja challenging a directive given to the National Assembly by the president to remove section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act,

Following that application, on March 7, Justice Ekwo restrained the President, the AGF and the senate president from tampering with the 2022 Electoral Act recently signed into law.
The PDP sought an order of the court restraining the National Assembly from effecting President Buhari’s request to remove section 84 (12) from the Electoral Act.
However, on March 18, Justice Evelyn Anyadike ordered the Attorney General of the Federation to delete the said section from the amended electoral act.
She made the order following a suit filed by Mr Edede at the Umuahia division of the Federal High Court.
Justice Anyadike held that the section was “unconstitutional, invalid, illegal, null, void and of no effect whatsoever and ought to be struck down as it cannot stand when it is in violation of the clear provisions of the Constitution.”
Not satisfied with the judgement of the lower court, the PDP approached the appellate court seeking to overturn the decision of the Umuahia court.
The Appellate court in its decision held that section 84(12) was unconstitutional because it violated Section 42 (1)(a) of the constitution and denied a class of Nigerian citizens their right to participate in election.
The appellate court held that Mr Edede lacked the locus standi to have instituted the suit and did not establish any cause of action that warranted him taking the matter to court nor did he establish how he was affected by the said provision.
The court struck out the suit filed by Mr Edede at the Umuahia court.

What happened in court

At the resumed hearing today, the judge asked that parties address him on the judgement of the appellate court since the suit borders on the same section which the higher court had given a verdict on.

PDP’s lawyer, Joseph Daudu (SAN) who argued that both suits are different, prayed the court to proceed in hearing the suit by PDP.

Oladipupo Okpeseyi SAN contended that there was no difference between the Umuahia suit and that of the PDP as both are on the same section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act.

After listening to arguments from both parties, Justice Ekwo held that all parties in the matter shall address him on May 24 on whether to abide by the Court of Appeal decision or proceed with the one before him.

What you should know

Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act 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 defendants in the suit filed by PDP include the President, AGF, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Clerk of National Assembly, Senate Leader, House of Representatives Leader, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Deputy Senate President, Deputy Speaker, Deputy Senate Leader and Deputy House of Representatives Leader.

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