Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC)

The Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC) has commended the Federal High Court judgment which said the National Assembly has no power to change the sequence of elections in the country.

IPAC Deputy National Chairman, Garhson Benson in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja, said the judgment was one of the ”beauties of democracy”.

The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday nullified the National Assembly’s amendment to Clause 25 of the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2018, which altered the sequence of election ahead of the 2019 general elections.

Delivering judgment on the matter, Justice Ahmed Mohammed, held that the National Assembly did not have the powers to reorder the election sequence.

Mohammed said the power to fix election sequence rested solely with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Benson said that the court the arguments was a demonstration of the separation of power among the different tiers of government, especially in a democracy.

“Somebody felt aggrieved that another person was doing a wrong thing. Instead of taking law into his hands, he approached the court of competent jurisdiction, which has given it verdict.

“It is now left with the NASS and whoever thinks he is aggrieved to appeal. That is the beauty of democracy.

“ I commend the judiciary. That is the beauty of democracy.

“That is why we have three tiers of government and that is why the judiciary is the last hope of a common man.’’

Benson said that the National Assembly and anyone involved in the suit had the right to appeal the judgment, but no person should take law into his hand.

The IPAC Deputy National Chairman advised the INEC to always be a law abiding institution.

Benson also advised Nigerians to allow the institution to grow by law establishing it and not by the caprices of anybody.

“INEC should work in line with the law that established it and not by directive of anybody. The commission should always be an unbiased empire in our elections.’’

In the election timetable released by INEC, fixed Presidential and National Assembly (NASS) elections for Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019, while Governorship and State Assembly elections are to hold on Saturday, March 2, 2019.

The National Assembly, however, changed the arrangement, directing that the National Assembly elections come first and the presidential poll last.

Reacting to the judgment, counsel to the National Assembly, Mr Sebastine Hon, (SAN), said that they would appeal.