- The refusal of the National Assembly to amend the Electoral Amendment Act in line with the wishes of President Muhammadu Buhari continues to generate reactions
- The National Youth Council of Nigeria has mobilised thousands of youths and young political appointees to the National Assembly over the decision of the lawmakers
- The council said 75 percent of those affected under the extant electoral act are youths who are appointees to key political figures
National Assembly - The National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) has insisted that Section 84 (12) is inconsistent with the constitution of Nigeria and should be expunged.
This was the position of the council when its president, Comrade Solomon Adodo led hundreds of NYCN members to a protest in the National Assembly on Tuesday, March 15.
Reading a letter at the protest group he personally sent to Senate President, Ahmad Lawan and House of Representatives Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, Adodo said:
“I write on behalf of the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) to convey our positions on the Electoral Act 2022. But before proceeding, let me start by congratulating you and your colleagues on the passage of the Electoral Act amendment.
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“All stakeholders in the electoral system agree that it is a quantum leap in improving the electoral processes and system, and indeed, deepening democracy. History will remember this National Assembly for doing a patriotic job in this regard.
“However, the NYCN insists that there are a number of vexed issues particularly Clause 84 (12) of the Electoral Act. And it is our firm stand that it should be expunged from the Act as we learnt was agreed in the first place before the president signed it into law.”
Listing the NYCN's stance on the issue, he highlighted 8 issues that inform the council's stand:
1. Since the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria already provides that appointed public officers could stay in office up to 30 days before the elections in which they are candidates, it, therefore, makes the Electoral Act which provides for them to resign 180 days before such elections, to be inconsistent with the Constitution.
2. It negates the powers and discretion of the appointing officers who should determine whether the involvement of such public officers is inimical to the objectives for which they are appointed.
3. On the issue of political appointees participating as delegates in political party primaries, which the Electoral Act prohibits, it is the stand of the NYCN that it is also against the Constitution which allows all citizens to participate in the electoral processes (except those constitutionally barred from specific parts of those processes) Section 42 of the 1999 Constitution is very clear on this.
4. Moreover, the point in (3) above is a legal emasculation of participatory democracy, which cannot be allowed now that we are making democratic progress on many fronts still refer to Section 42 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
5. If there should be a law regulating citizens' participation as political Party Delegates, it should be left for Political Parties to handle internally. Section 84 (12) appears to be targeted legislation, for the National Assembly to take it upon itself to legislate on what is ordinarily an internal political party matter.
6.Very importantly, it is dishonourable for the National Assembly to make a volte-face after agreeing with President Muhammadu Buhari on these constitutional observations.
7. Consequently, in the light of the fact that this particular clause 84(12) is totally inconsistent with the Constitution, it will inevitably lead to multiple litigations which will worsen whatever problem it is intended to address.
8. Finally, it should be noted that young political appointees will be the greatest casualties of this undemocratic law and thus we demand its reversal.
He added that the NYCN will continue to engage the National Assembly, including occupying the National Assembly Complex till their demands are met.
Electoral Act: NYCN faults National Assembly stance on amendment
Recall that the NYCN had faulted the National Assembly over its refusal to amend the Electoral Amendment Act in line with the wishes of President Buhari.
Comrade Solomon Adodo who spoke to journalists including a Legit reporter in Abuja on Friday, March 11 argued that the measure would lead to the total disenfranchisement of over 70 percent of potential candidates who are mainly youths.
The youths group said it was unfortunate that over 75 percent of those affected under the extant electoral act are youths who are appointees of local government chairmen, governors, the president, and legislators.