2019 Election Sequence: Court Restrains National Assembly On Electoral Act Amendment

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THE National Assembly has been ordered not to take any further actions on the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, 2018.

The restraining order issued by Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court, Abuja yesterday would last till March 17, which is the next hearing date.

Delivering ruling on an oral application by Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), counsel to the plaintiff, Accord Party, Justice Mohammed held that the restraining order was made to preserve the substance of the main suit.

The Accord Party, is by its suit challenging the constitutionality of the ongoing amendment of the Electoral Act

The oral application by Olanipekun for a “preservative order” was opposed by the counsel representing the National Assembly, Chinelo Ogbozor.

The Attorney-General of the Federation, the second defendant to the suit, was not represented by a counsel.

But INEC, the third respondent, was represented by its lawyer, Mr. Taminu Inuwa, who said he had no objection to the application.

Ruling, the judge held that the National Assembly was not likely to suffer any prejudice if it was restrained from going ahead with the amendment processes before the next hearing date.

He added that on the other hand, if no restraining order was issued and the National Assembly proceed to exercise its powers under section 58(5) of the Constitution by overriding the president’s withholding of assent, the essence of the whole suit would have been defeated.

The judge, therefore, ordered all parties to maintain “status quo.

He fixed Tuesday for the hearing of the motion for the interlocutory injunction, the same order which was granted during yesterday’s proceedings but would likely last till the final determination of the suit if the application succeeds.