Tuesday, July 19, 2011

N’Assembly can’t control the judiciary – ACN

The National Secretary of the Action Congress of Nigeria, Sen. Lawal Shuaibu, said in Abuja on Monday that the National Assembly could not take away the rights of the judiciary
to declare the winner of an election.

Shuaibu, who spoke to the Nigeria newspapers, said it was still in the jurisdiction of the courts or the tribunals to declare the winner of an election because it is the responsibility of the court to do so.

The National Assembly had removed from the court or tribunal the power to declare the winner of an election when it amended section 140(2) of the Electoral Act before the 2011 general elections.

However, the Federal High Court in Lagos State ruled, in a suit filed by the ACN against the National Assembly on the amended Act, that the court or tribunal had the power to declare the winner of any election.

Shuaibu said, “The National Assembly cannot take away the rights of the Judiciary. They cannot take away the rights of any of the two arms of the same government.

“That provision in the Electoral Act is inconsistent with the Electoral Act. The responsibility of the Court is clearly spelt out by the constitution.

“The Courts have absolute discretion to decide whether it is a rerun or to swear-in automatically. It depends on the available evidences brought before the court.”

He added that each arm of government had its duties; therefore, none should hinder the other in its area of jurisdiction.

Shuaibu said, “The fact is we have three arms of government; each one has its own responsibilities. The National Assembly legislates, they make the law. That does not mean they should not allow the courts to interpret the law.

“There is what we call checks and balances.

“It will sound funny if the National Assembly legislates to be responsible for the appointment of ministers, board members of parastatals bodies or that they will be responsible for directing the police on what to do.

“That is purely an executive section. So also the interpretation of laws, based on the provision of the constitution, is the absolute area of the judiciary.”

Shuaibu also said the ACN believed in the courts because it had addressed its issues in the past and had brought back its stolen mandate.

“The government knows that you can go and get justice in the court of law. When our mandate was denied us in past elections, the courts addressed that and brought back our mandate to us,” he said.

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