By Olalekan Awojodu, Abuja.
The Federal High Court in Abuja Monday stopped President Muhammad Buhari, Attorney General of the Federation AGF and Senate President from tampering with the newly amended Electoral Act 2022.
The Justice Inyang Eden Ekwo gave the order while ruling on an ex-parte application by the People’s Democratic Party PDP agreed that the Electoral Act has become a valid Law and cannot be tampered with without following due process of law.
The Judge agreed with Chief James Ogwu Onoja SAN, counsel to PDP that the proper place to challenge validity of any existing law is court of competent jurisdiction.
Specifically, the court restrained all the defendants in the suit from removing section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act or prevent It from being implemented for the purpose of the 2023 general elections.
The People’s Democratic Party PDP has dragged President Muhammad Buhari before the court challenging fresh move to tamper with the newly amended Electoral Act signed into law some days ago by President Buhari.
Buhari is sued along with the Attorney General of the Federation AGF and Minister of Justice, Senate President, Speaker, House of Representatives, Clerk of National Assembly, Senate Leader, House of Representatives Leader and Independent National Electoral Commission INEC.
Also joined as defendants in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/247/2022 are Deputy Senate President, Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Deputy Senate Leader and Deputy House of Representatives Leader.
The main opposition party in the suit filed on its behalf by Chief James Ogwu Onoja SAN, prayed the Federal High Court for an order of interim injunction restraining Buhari and other defendants from refusing to implement the duly signed Electoral Act or in any manner witholding 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.
PDP also applied for an order of the court stopping the National Assembly from giving effect to President Buhari’s request to remove section 84 (12) from the Electoral Act or take any step that will make the provision inoperative pending the resolution of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.
The grouse of the PDP is that President Buhari having assented to the Bill on February 25, 2022, cannot give any directive to the National Assembly to take immediate steps to remove the section 84 (12) or any section of the Act on any ground whatsoever.
Justice Ekwo granted the interim injunction request and adjourned further hearing in the matter till March 21.