Fred Itua, Abuja
A lawyer, Mr. Chyma Anthony, has is suing President Muhammadu Buhari, the National Assembly, Senate President Bukola Saraki, Speaker Yakubu Dogara, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Attorney General of the Federation to a Federal High court in Abuja, to among other things, demand that the court determine whether the decision by the National Assembly to usurp the powers of the INEC to fix dates of elections for Houses of Assembly and the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, does not contravene the provisions of the 1999 Constitution.
In the suit numbered FHC/ABJ/CS/222/18, the plaintiff, Anthony, in a general form of originating summons, prayed the court to order the defendants to cause an appearance to be entered for them in defense of what he described as “moves made by the defendants that have injured and affected him.”
Supporting his case with a 16 paragraph affidavit, the plaintiff further prayed the court to determine whether by the combined effect of the provisions of Sections 76 and 132 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the National Assembly is empowered to take away from INEC the constitutional powers bestowed on it to fix the respective dates for the National Assembly and presidential elections without amending the relevant provisions of the Constitution.
And the relief sought by the plaintiff? That the court should issue a declaration stating that by the combined effect of the provisions of Sections 76 and 132 of the Constitution, the INEC and not the National Assembly, is the only body authorised to fix the respective dates for elections into Houses of Assembly and the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and that the powers conferred on the electoral body by the Constitution cannot be taken away from it by the National Assembly.
Both chambers of the National Assembly recently passed the 2010 INEC Amendment Act and gave legal backing to the reordering of election sequence.
The document has been forwarded to President Muhammadu Buhari for presidential assent.