A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Ben Nwabueze has described Nigeria as a place where strange things happen, where a court of law, whose jurisdiction is limited to the application of law in dispute before it, can act on the basis of a bill that has not yet become law.
Nwabueze disclosed this in a statement where he faulted an order of the federal high court, Abuja, restraining the National Assembly from overriding President Muhammadu Buhari on the election reordering bill.
He said the court should not have given the ruling because the bill is yet to become law. “In order words, rendering an advisory opinion, which a court of law under our system has no authority to give, that the eventual enactment of the bill into law will be unconstitutional, null, and void.”
“This indeed is an amazing decision to come from a federal high court in this country.”
Citing an example, the SAN said: “Even when the intention has been formulated into a bill no question of law arises at that stage, for a bill is not law; as such it cannot be an unlawful exercise of the power of law-making inasmuch as it may be abandoned or amended before the processes of its translation into law are completed, -Cf. Pugh, ‘The Fed declaratory remedy: justiciability, jurisdiction and related problems’, Vand. L. Rev., 1952, 79, 94 – 95 – it cannot, affect the rights of any persons.”
The National Assembly had altered the electoral act by including section 25 which provides for a change in the sequence of elections.
The president has since rejected the amendment to the act.
On Wednesday, the court gave the temporal restraining order in a suit filed by Accord Party. The party is challenging the constitutionality of the amendment to the electoral act.