Deregistration Of 74 Parties: Court Backs INEC - 9japarrot


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Thursday 28 May 2020

Deregistration Of 74 Parties: Court Backs INEC

ABUJA – A Federal High Court, which sat in Abuja on Thursday, 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 O. Taiwo affirmed that the constitu­tional power of the electoral commission and the reasons given by the commission for the de-registration of parties were valid.

He gave this ruling in a landmark judgment deliv­ered in the suit filed by the National Unity Party, one of the 74 parties deregistered by INEC in February.

The court also affirmed that the decision was 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, therefore, held that the deregistration of the 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.

The judgment conclu­sively terminated the legal existence of the party and also all its other rights and obligations.

The court equally held that the party failed to show that the exercise of its pow­ers to deregister the party was at variance with the law.

Hence the court came to the conclusion that the plaintiff (the party) failed to prove its case and the issues for determination could not be determined in its favour and the reliefs it sought could not be granted.

The court quashed the ar­gument of the NUP, which is the same argument by the 74 deregistered parties that until all local government elections in the country were held in­stead of only the FCT local government elections that the constitution empowers INEC to conduct, that INEC could not deregister them.

The deregistration contro­versy had raged between the electoral commission and the 74 parties, with INEC holding the position that after fulfill­ing their constitutional roles of conducting the presiden­tial, federal and state legisla­tive, governorship and FCT council elections, that the stage was set for the deregis­tration of parties which didn’t win any position as required by the constitution.

The court has now upheld the position, thereby dim­ming the hope of any of the 74 deregistered parties regain­ing their legal right to exit.

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

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