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Appeal Court upholds N/Assembly’s power to alter election sequence

A Court of Appeal in Abuja has affirmed the powers of the National Assembly to alter sequence of the 2019 general elections.


The appellate court yesterday also dismissed the judgement of a Federal High Court in Abuja, which on April 25 stopped the National Assembly from overriding the assent of the President in the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, 2018.


The Court in a unanimous judgment delivered by the President of the court, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, held that the decision of the trial court in delving into the matter amounted to a breach of the Doctrine of Separation of Powers.


She said the bill changing the election timetable was pursuant to the powers of the National Assembly under Section 4(1) of the 1999 Constitution, saying it will only become law after it has been signed by the president.


The appellate court held that the judiciary can only have jurisdiction to determine a matter on the basis of violation of Section 1 (3) of the 1999 Constitution, when it has been given legal effect through passage by two chambers of the National Assembly and assented to by the appropriate authority.


She said the originating summons by the Accord Party failed to establish how its rights and obligations were adversely affected by the election reordering bill, but designed to obstruct the legislative function of the National Assembly.


“A court of law has no jurisdiction to decide on a Bill still undergoing legislative process. Such decision becomes null and void since it is not yet a law or an Act of the National Assembly,” she said.



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