The Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday ruled that the National Assembly does not have the power to amend the election timetable of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
The Presiding Judge, Justice Ahmed Mohamed, voided clause 25, section 15 of the Electoral Amendment Bill passed into law by the National Assembly reordering the sequence which was announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
The court also ruled that the 1999 constitution empowers INEC to organize and supervise elections including fixing dates and sequences, therefore, the National Assembly does not have the powers to over-ride the actions of INEC.
The judgment was on the suit by Accord Party (AP), challenging the legitimacy of the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, 2018, to which Buhari declined to assent.
Justice Mohammed answered all the questions raised the suit for determination in favour of the plaintiff and granted all the reliefs by the sought plaintiff, except 11(1) which sought to restrain President Muhammadu Buhari from asserting to the Bill.
The judge noted that granting such prayer was no longer necessary since the President has already declined signing the Bill.
Before determining the main suit, the judge earlier dismissed the preliminary objection filed by the National Assembly (1st defendant) in which they argued among others that the suit was not justiciable, that the plaintiff were without the requisite locus standi and that the suit was academic.
Justice Mohammed disagreed with the 1st defendant on all the grounds raised in the preliminary objection.