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Malami: One mess too many

Malami: One mess too many

By Bala Ibrahim

I don’t like what is happening but it looks like those of us that supported PMB and are still supporting him, would need to buy and keep in reserve, more antihypertensive drugs, as the dying days of the regime draws nearer. And the office of Malami, the Attorney General and the Minister of Justice would be the principal cause of the catastrophe. Yes catastrophe, because as the Minister of Justice and Legal Adviser to the President, Malami is fast turning into a menace.

Any person that is likely to cause harm or threat to the system is fit to be called a menace, and by what happened at the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja this morning, where the court vacated the judgement of the Federal High Court in Umuahia, Abia State, which voided the provision of Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act, 2022, is not only a shame to Malami but an action capable of causing discomfiture to the President.

And Malami is the cause.

In a unanimous decision by a three-man panel of Justices, led by Justice Hamma Akawu Barka, the appellate court held that the high court in Umuahia acted without jurisdiction, saying that the Plaintiff, Mr Nduka Edede, lacked the locus standing to institute the action.

According to the appellate court, Nduka Eddie, could not establish any cause of action that warranted him to approach the court on the issue, observing that the plaintiff was unable to prove how he was directly affected by that section of the newly amended Electoral Act.

As a result, the appeal court struck out the suit, and no one but Malami is the cause.

One embarrassing aspect of the case is that, while determining the appeal on the merit, the court held that the said provision of the electoral law was unconstitutional, because it is in breach of Section 42 (1)(a) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, stressing that the section denied a class of Nigerian citizens their right to participate in the election.

Malami is the cause, because, the judgment followed an appeal that was filed by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, which Malami ought not to give any room to embarrass the ruling party, the APC, which employed him.

It may be recalled that the High Court in Umuahia, had in March, struck down section 84(12) of the Electoral Act, 2022 and ordered that it should be deleted by the Attorney-General of the Federation for being inconsistent with the Constitution.

Within hours of the judgement, Malami announced his decision to immediately comply with the court order. I hope, now that the Appeal court has ruled in the reverse, Malami would comply, with a similar, or faster speed. He must gazette the ruling, not later than today, please.

Read Also: Political appointees and the paradox of power, by Bala Ibrahim

The controversial section of the Electoral Act said no political appointee at any level shall be a voting delegate or be voted for at the convention or congress of any political party for the purpose of the nomination of candidates for any election. It made it mandatory that political office holders must firstly resign from office before they could vie for any elective position.

Everyone knows that Malami is interested in contesting for the office of the Governor of his state, Kebbi state, come 2023, and out of evident desperation, he seems to be acting in extreme behaviour, by holding on to the office of the minister of Justice, against the provisions of the law.

As the legal Adviser of the President, it is widely believed that he was the one that told the President, before he signed the Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2022 into law, to express reservations with that part, saying it is discriminatory.

Long before now, I had discussions with some lawyers, including one that is a senior lawmaker, who expressed doubt about the workability of Malami’s submission.

On many occasions, Malami had muddled the situation through legal advice that is believed to be unethical, but this is one mess too many. And the President needs to know that it would rub off on his reputation.

Not long ago, at a dinner in honour of the 2022 Committee of Business, Political, Media and Civil Society Leaders at the State House, Abuja, PMB said a d I quote. “I am gradually entering my final year in office. It’s a period I intend to spend not only on consolidating the achievements of the past seven years but also to leave a legacy for a united, peaceful, and prosperous Nigeria. For those among you who are politicians, you must look beyond gaining the power to how you can leverage public positions in the process of societal change”.

With today’s ruling, and Malami as the Legal Adviser, the possibility of leaving such a legacy is most likely going to be a mirage.

Malami: One mess too many

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