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N/Assembly will appeal judgement against election sequence

 The National Assembly will appeal the judgement of a Federal High Court nullifying the alteration of the sequence of election ahead of the 2019 general elections.

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The court yesterday nullified the amendment to Clause 25 of the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2018 wherein the National Assembly altered the sequence of election ahead of the 2019 general elections.

However, counsel representing NASS in the suit, Sebastine Hon (SAN) told Daily Trust today that “The judgement amounts to interference with the internal affairs and workings of the National Assembly and we are not satisfied with the reasons given by the judge. There are also some other technical issues we would be raising in the appeal.”

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INEC had in its released timetable fixed Presidential and National Assembly elections for Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019, and Governorship and State Assembly elections for Saturday, March 2, 2019. However, the National Assembly in the amendment changed the sequence, demanding that the National Assembly elections come first and the presidential poll last.

Subsequently, the Accord Party through its counsel, Wole Olanipekun (SAN) filed a suit against the National Assembly, challenging the alteration of the election sequence as already announced by the INEC.

Delivering judgement in the suit, the trial judge, Justice Ahmed Mohammed held that the National Assembly did not have the powers to reorder the election sequence.

Agreeing with the plaintiff’s counsel, Justice Mohammed held that an amendment to the Electoral Act by the National Assembly could not override the constitutional powers granted to INEC in Paragraph 15(a) of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution.

He further held that the Constitution gave INEC the sole responsibility to conduct, organise, issue election times table and decide election dates and as such the National Assembly was in clear breach of Paragraph 15(a) of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution, as altered.

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