By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA — The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke, SAN, yesterday, joined the Labour Party to ask a Federal High Court in Abuja to declare sections 140(2) and 141 of the Electoral Act 2010, as amended, which stipulated specific order a tribunal can make in election petition case, as unconstitutional, null and void.
Though it was the Labour Party that filed the substantive suit, however, the AGF yesterday filed a written address before the high court wherein he urged the court to grant the reliefs sought by the plaintiff.
The plaintiff had in an originating summons it filed through its counsel, Chief Chuwkuma Ekomaru, SAN, asked court to invoke its jurisdiction and declare that the provisions of the said portions of the Electoral Act were inconsistent with the provisions of sections 6(6a), 134, 179, 285 of the 1999 Constitution.
It is also seeking an injunction restraining the AGF and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, from refusing to accept any candidate of the party declared by a tribunal as winner of election into any elective office across the federation.
A 17-paragraph deposed to by the chairman of the party, Dan Nwanyanwu was attached to the originating summons.
Meanwhile, the AGF, who was represented in court yesterday by Ms Olufunke Aboyade, argued that the provisions in dispute ousted the jurisdiction of the courts with respect to the reliefs which the courts could grant in certain circumstances in an election petition. According to him, the two sections are inconsistent with the 1999 Constitution.
The AGF maintained that sections 140(2) and 141 of the Electoral Act derogated from the provisions of sections 239 and 285 of the constitution, which imbued the tribunals with the power to hear and determine election petitions and to make declarations as to the rightful winners of such elections without reservation.
Citing section 1(3) of the Constitution, he asked the court to declare the sections of the Electoral Act in dispute as null and void for being inconsistent with the provisions of the constitution.
Justice Gabriel Kolawole has adjourned hearing on the suit to June 15.