President Muhammadu Buhari who signed the electoral act today February 25, has asked the national assembly to expunge section 84 (12) of the electoral act of 2022 which he claimed disenfranchises serving political officers.
Commenting on the section 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”, the President said it is in conflict with the country’s constitution which protects the right of serving political officers to vote in their party’s function as provided for in sections 40 and 42.
“Section 84 (12) constitutes a disenfranchisement of serving political office holders from voting or being voted for at conventions or congresses of any political party, for the purpose of the nomination of candidates for any election in cases where it holds earlier than 30 days to the national election.
“This provision has introduced qualification and disqualification criteria that ultra vires the constitution by way of importing blanket restriction and disqualification to serving political office holders of which they are constitutionally accorded protection.
“The practical application of section 84(12) of the Electoral Bill, 2022 will, if assented to, by operation of law, subject serving political office holders to inhibitions and restrictions referred to under section 40 and 42 of the 1999 constitution (as amended).
“It is imperative to note that the only constitutional expectation placed on serving political office holders that qualify, by extension as public officers within the context of the constitution is resignation, withdrawal or retirement at least 30 days before the date of the election.
“Arising from the foregoing, with particular regards to the benefits of the bill, industry, time, resources and energy committed in its passage, I hereby assent to the bill and request the nationally assembly to consider immediate amendments that will bring the Bill in tune with constitutionality by way of deleting section 84(12) accordingly.”