President Muhammadu Buhari, on Thursday at a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, denied ordering the Senate to remove the contentious Section 84 (12) from the amended Electoral Act 2022.
The President’s denial which was contained in a counter affidavit filed on his behalf by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, (SAN), in response to a suit filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), against him and 12 others, noted that he only expressed reservations and concerns in respect of the aspect of the Act.
In the joint counter affidavit signed by Buhari and Malami to dismiss the PDP’s claims in the suit, the AGF explained that the President, on February 25, “gave a proper, full and unconditional assent to the amended Electoral Act with the particular section 84 (12) which 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.”
In the counter suit, Buhari averred that the claims of PDP in its suit against him and the Federal Government on the Electoral Act were “totally false and replete with gross untruths aimed at misleading the court to give judgment against them.”
“The first defendant (President Buhari) assented to the Electoral Bill but did not give conditions or directives to the National Assembly in the manner erroneously deposed to by the plaintiff (PDP),” the counter affidavit said.
“At no time did the first defendant give any directive to the management or leadership of the National Assembly as regards the removal of section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act 2022 from the Act.
“On March 8, 2022, the first defendant officially wrote the Senate President and House of Representatives Speaker to express his concerns about Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act and formally requested for amendment to be effected on the section so as to eliminate area of infraction with the Constitution.
“I am aware that the National Assembly neither accepted nor acted on the opinion or suggestion of President Buhari,” it added.
The AGF added that only the Court of Appeal can restore Section 84 (12) into the Electoral Act, 2022, insisting that the PDP only challenged the legality or otherwise of the National Assembly tinkering with the Electoral Act, after it had been signed into law by President Buhari.