Court affirms INEC power to deregister political parties

The Federal High Court in Abuja has affirmed the power of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to deregister political parties which failed to comply with the provisions of the law particularly Section 225 A of the 1999 Constitution as amended.

Justice Taiwo Taiwo in a judgement delivered in the suit filed by the National Unity Party, one of the 74 parties deregistered by INEC in February affirmed that the constitutional power of the electoral commission and the reasons given by the Commission for the deregistration of parties are valid, in conformity with the law, sacrosanct and could not be affected by the fact of anticipated Local government elections by some states which dates were not fixed, certain or even ascertainable.

The court further held that the deregistration of National Unity Party as a political party in Nigeria was lawfully done in exercise of vested constitutional powers of INEC in accordance with Section 225A  of the 1999 Constitution.

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The Court also held that the Party failed to show that the exercise of INEC’s powers to deregister the party was at variance with the law and also ultra vires its powers. Hence the court came to the conclusion that the Plaintiff (the Party) failed to prove its case and the issues for determination cannot be determined in its favour and the reliefs it sought could not be granted.

Tribune Online reports that the Court in its judgement dismissed the argument of the party which is the same legal argument by the 74 deregistered parties that until all Local Government elections in the country are held instead of only FCT local elections that the Constitution empowers INEC to conduct elections adding that INEC cannot deregister them.

By this judgment, only 18 political parties will be participating in the Edo and Ondo State governorship elections scheduled to hold on September 19, 2020, and October 10, 2020.

The Acting  President of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) and AAC Party Chairman, Dr Leonard Nzenwa, while reacting to the judgement, said that until upturned on appeal, the judgement of the Court in the position of the law and only the 18 political parties recognised by INEC will participate in the Edo and Ondo Governorship elections and that the Parties are ready for the elections.

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