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“Only INEC Can Fix Election Dates” Court Says As It Voids Legislators’ Actions

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A Federal High Court in Abuja has voided Clause 25 of the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, 2018, which seeks to reverse the sequence of the conduct of the 2019 elections earlier announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Justice Ahmed Mohammed, in a judgment on Wednesday, held that the powers to organise, conduct and fix dates for elections resides only with INEC by virtue of Section 15(a) of the 3rd Schedule to the Constitution.

Justice Mohammed said the passage of the Bill, which seeks to alter the election time table earlier released by INEC was a breach of the Constitution and the doctrine of separation of powers.

The judgement was on the suit by Accord Party (AP), challenging the legitimacy of the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, 2018, to which President Muhammadu Buhari declined to assent.

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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.

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Details later….!

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