A federal lawmaker, Dumnamene Dekor, has called on the President, Major General Muhammad Buhari (retd.), to desist from pressurising the judicial process concerning the interpretation of the Electoral Act, section 84 and subsection 12 as well as 13.
Dekor said such an attempt would be tantamount to a breach of the role of the Judiciary, as an arm of government.
Dekor, who represents the Khana/Gokana Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, made the call while answering questions from journalists in Port-Harcourt on Tuesday.
He said it was wrong for government appointees to remain in office while declaring their intent to contest various elective positions in the 2023 general election.
Dekor explained that, although the National Assembly had already appealed the ruling of the March 18 Federal High Court in Umuahia to the effect that the Electoral Act was contrary to the 1999 constitution, section 84 of the Electoral Act was a well-thought section.
“Those in public offices will take undue advantage of those who are also in the race. For instance, if you are an aide to a governor or president, or any elected official, you should not remain in office until you resign.
“If I am a commissioner or minister, for instance, and I am running for the House of Assembly, then it means that I will use the influence or advantage of my office to edge out whoever is contesting against me.
“The National Assembly took a lot of things into consideration. We are still on it. The National Assembly is already in the court to appeal the matter,” he stated.
Recently, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), and the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), had argued that section 84 of the Act “prejudices and impedes the constitutional rights of most Nigerians to participate in the electoral processes or primaries of their political parties.
But Dekor objected, saying the President has no power whatsoever to interpret the law.
According to him, “He (Buhari) has no such powers. He cannot arrogate judicial powers to himself. Mr. President has no such powers, with all sense of respect.
“Laws are made to be interpreted by the judiciary. He has no such role in interpreting the laws because he is the head of the executive and head of government.
“He cannot interpret a law that has already been passed and which he had assented only to turn around to say that the electoral act is a breach of the constitution.
“Those who advise him should look at the Act deeply before giving him such advice. The President was ill-advised, in my opinion.”