The Supreme Court has granted the application by Rivers State to be joined as a defendant in the suit filed by President Muhammadu Buhari and the Attorney-General Of The Federation (AGF) seeking to void section 84(12) of the Electoral Act 2022.
Buhari and the AGF in the suit marked SC/CV/504/2022 and filed on April 29, 2022, listed the national assembly as the sole respondent.
The plaintiffs are contending that section 84(12) of the Electoral (Amendment) Act, 2022 is inconsistent with the provisions of sections 42, 65, 66, 106, 107, 131, 137, 147, 151, 177, 182, 192 and 196 of the constitution as well Article 2 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.
At the court session on Thursday which was scheduled for hearing of the suit, Emmanuel Ukala, counsel representing Rivers state attorney-general and speaker of the state, raised his application for joinder.
Rivers in its application said it will be affected by the outcome of the suit.
“That any decision rendered by this honourable court in respect of the subject matter of this suit will certainly affect the legal rights of the Rivers state house of assembly and impinge upon its legislative powers to make laws in addition to but not inconsistent with section 84(12) of the Electoral Act 2022 enacted by the national assembly and applicable in Rivers state and will affect the scope of its authority to make laws as conferred on it by Section 7 and item E. 12 of the Concurrent Legislative List of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended),” it said.
“That the Applicants/Parties Seeking to be joined have a full and complete defence to the claim on the merits of the originating summons and a copy of the proposed defence by way of counter affidavit and written address in opposition to the originating summons of the plaintiffs is tendered herewith, referred to as and marked exhibit A.
“That unless the applicants are joined to this suit as defendants, they may not be able to assert their said rights and protect their interest in the subject matter of this suit and which said rights and interests may be adversely affected by any decision that may be given in this case.
“That the plaintiffs/respondents and the defendant/respondent will not be prejudiced in any way by the grant of this application.”
Although Lateef Fagbemi, counsel to the plaintiffs, was initially opposed to the joinder application, he later consented to it to enable the speedy dispensation of the case.
Consequently, the seven-member panel of justices led by Muhammad Dattijo, granted the application.
The case was then adjourned to May 26 for hearing.