The Federal High Court in Kano has held that statutory delegates can participate in primaries, conventions, congresses, or meetings of political parties, in accordance with the 1999 Constitution.
Statutory delegates include the President, Vice President, members of the National Assembly, governors and their deputies, members of the State Houses of Assembly, chairmen of councils, councillors, and national working committee of political parties, amongst others.
Justice Muhammad Liman stated this on Friday while ruling on a suit marked FHC/KN/CS/137/2022 filed by Senator El-Jibrin Gogowa, a legislative aide to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.
Gogowa filed the suit along with two others – Habibu Sani and Bilyaminu Shinkafi, and listed the Senate President, National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Gbajabiamila, and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as defendants.
It bordered on the legality of the participation of statutory delegates in parties’ activities, especially as the APC prepares for a special convention for its presidential primary.
At the end of the primary scheduled to hold between Monday and Wednesday next week, the APC is expected to produce its candidate who will contest for the office of the President alongside the flagbearers of other political parties in the 2023 general elections.
With three days to the exercise, Justice Liman, in his ruling, held that Section 84(8) cannot be interpreted to have excluded statutory delegates from voting at parties’ conventions and congresses, among others.
“Section 84(8) cannot be interpreted to have excluded statutory delegates from voting at the convention, congress or meeting by virtue of Section 223 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and Article 20(iv)(c) of the All Progressive Congress (APC) Constitution, which allow statutory delegation to vote at convention, congress or meeting,” the court held.
Channels Television had reported that the Senate and House of Representatives chambers of the National Assembly amended the Electoral Act, 2022 in May to allow statutory delegates to participate and vote in the conventions, congresses, or meetings of political parties.
Weeks after the law was altered, President Muhammadu Buhari has yet to assent to the amendment.
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