Anambra 2021: We will deal with only 18 political parties ― INEC

• Says 74 deregistered parties will be excluded • Asks Parties to promote internal democracy

Ahead of the forthcoming governorship election in Anambra State, the Independent National Electoral Commission, ( INEC) has said only 18 political parties will be accorded recognition to field candidates for the election.

The National Commissioner and Chairman, Voter Education and Publicity Committee of the Commission, Festus Okoye said the clarification became necessary in view of perceived moves by some of the 73 deregistered political parties to present candidates for the Anambra election.

Tribune Online checks revealed that INEC, in February 2020 had delisted 77 political parties after the 2019 general elections. It premised its action on the failure of the parties to win a single seat in the last general elections.

Some of the axed parties included the Advanced Congress of Democrats, Advanced Allied Party, All Blending Party, Allied Congress Party Of Nigeria, Alliance For Democracy, All Grassroots Alliance and All Grand Alliance Party.

Twenty-two of the affected political parties led by the Advanced Congress of Democrats had filed a suit before the Federal High Court, Abuja.

Justice Anwuli Chikere in a judgment delivered, on June 11, 2020, dismissed the suit, challenging the powers of INEC to deregister political parties.

Further investigation revealed that a five-man Court of Appeal in a unanimous judgment delivered last August by President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, held that the deregistration was illegal as it submitted that it did not follow due process.

INEC had since appealed the judgement of Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem at the Supreme Court.

Okoye in his statement, on Friday, maintained that the axed parties remained non-existent until the apex court ruled otherwise.

He said: “The Commission will continue to recognize and deal with only the 18 registered political parties pending the final resolution and determination of the various appeals filed and pending before the Supreme Court. Consequently, INEC will not monitor any purported primaries by any of the deregistered political parties and will not issue access code to or accept the list and particulars of candidates emanating from such primaries.”

The Commission however advised the registered political parties ” to strictly adhere to the provisions of their constitutions on internal party administration and nomination of candidates for elections.

“This has become necessary in view of the recent spate of complains regarding the dissolution of the Executives of State branches even where their tenures have not expired as well as the rash of conflicting court orders with respect to party primaries and candidature long after elections have been conducted by the Commission.

“Respect for party Constitution and due process are cardinal to electoral democracy. Political parties are hereby reminded of their obligations to internal democracy and the rule of law.”

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