Despite a Federal High Court judgment abrogating the controversial Section 84(12) of the new Electoral Act 2022, the Niger State government has directed all political appointees and public servants aspiring for political offices in the state to resign before the 31st March 2022 in compliance with the new Electoral Act.
Justice Evelyn Anyadike of a Federal High Court in Umuahia, Abia State had last week
struck down the innovation captured in Section 84(12) of the recently amended Electoral Act.
However, the Niger State government in a circular signed by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Ahmed Ibrahim Matane, dated 21st March 2022 with reference number SSG/OFF/033 said: “You will recall that His Excellency, the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) recently assented to the “Electoral Act, 2022”, which was released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on 26th February 2022, alongside Timetable and Schedule of Activities for 2023 general elections, specified that political appointees and other public servants aspiring for political offices are expected to tender their resignation prior to the conduct of party primaries.
” In view of the foregoing, therefore, and in compliance with the provision, political appointees and other public servants serving in both state and local government areas of Niger State aspiring for political offices should submit their letters of resignation to the office of the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) on or before the 31st March 2022
The novel statutory provision had prohibited political appointees from voting as delegates in party conventions or congresses for the election or nomination of candidates.
Justice Anyadike had while delivering judgement in the suit challenging the constitutionality of the provision, held that the section was “unconstitutional, invalid, illegal, null, void and of no effect whatsoever.”
Adjudging the provision to conflict with the Nigerian constitution, the judge held that it “ought to be struck down as it cannot stand when it violates the clear provisions of the Constitution.”
Justice Anyadike thereafter ordered the Attorney-General of the Federation to “forthwith delete the said Subsection 12 of Section 84 from the body of the Electoral Act, 2022