The National Assembly has been given the go-ahead with a bill seeking to reorder the sequence of the planned 2019 general elections by Court of Appeal has given.
According to a judgment delivered yesterday, the appellate court invalidated the verdict of the Federal High Court which, in April, stopped the National Assembly from legislating on the sequence of election.
In the unanimous verdict delivered by the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Adamu Bulkachuwa, it was held that the case of the Accord Party (AP), which led to the judgment of the High Court, was premature at the time it was filed.
The appellate court further held that the decision of the High Court in entertaining the suit by the AP amounted to a breach of the doctrine of separation of powers as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Appeal Court consequently nullified the judgment of the lower court. Justice Bulkachuwa described the AP’s suit challenging the legality of the powers of the National Assembly on election reordering as an academic exercise, declaring that the party had no power to have instituted the action in the first instance.
Specifically, the Court of Appeal president said the AP failed to establish how its rights and obligations were adversely affected by the election reordering bill of the National Assembly higher than that of the general interest.
The judge further stated that a bill has no legal effect to expose it to being challenged in court on the basis of the violation of the constitution of the country until it has been passed by the two chambers of the National Assembly and assented to by the appropriate authority.
“The constitution does not envisage that a suit would be filed to challenge a bill at the embryonic stage of legislation because it has no binding effect until it has been assented to,” Justice Bulkachuwa said.
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