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Court orders INEC to register Young Democratic Party

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Justice-Mahmud-Mohammed

BARELY 3 weeks to the beginning of the 2015 general elections, the Federal High Court, Abuja Division Tuesday ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to immediately register the Young Democratic Party ‎as political party.

Young Democratic Party, plaintiff in a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/736/14 had sued the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mr Peter Fayose, Dr Kayode Fayemi, Engr Rauf Aregbesola, Peoples Democratic Party and All Progressives Congress, as 1st to 6th defendants respectively. 

However, the names of the 2nd-6th defendants were struck out by the court, leaving only INEC.

The plaintiff had asked  the court to declare that INEC had no reason not to register it as a political party. 

Delivering his judgment in the suit, Justice Ahmed Mohammed held that “INEC has not discharged its constitutional obligation of informing the plaintiff why it has not been registered as a political party.

“The effect of INEC’s action as clearly spelt out in Section 78 (4) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) is to deem the plaintiff as a duly registered political party.”

Justice Mohammed also held that having received the plaintiff’s application to be registered as a political party on March 17, 2014, based on the provision of Section 78(4) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), INEC had 30 days to act on the plaintiff’s application.

The judge held that it took INEC  more than 120 days to react to series of correspondences from the plaintiff seeking to know while it had not been registered.    

The court said the time lag on the side of INEC and its inability to inform the Young Democratic Party of its status meaent that the plaintiff’s application had  no defect. For more than 120 days outside the 30 days required by law, INEC did not come out to say that the plaintiff had not met the requirements.

The court held that INEC had no reason whatsoever to refuse to issue the plaintiff with its certificate of registration since the plaintiff was deemed registered as a political party by virtue of the provisions of the Electoral Act particularly Section 78(4), and also considering the letter of submission of application dated the 17th of March 2014.

Justice Mohammed also declared that the 1st defendant had no reason whatsoever to refuse to issue the plaintiff with its certificate of registration being that the plaintiff was deemed registered as a political party by virtue of the provisions of the Electoral Act particularly Section 78(4), and also considering the letter of submission of application dated the 13th August 2014 titled “Re: Application for Registration as a political party”.

Earlier, the court had dismissed the preliminary objection of INEC dated January 25, 2015, saying, “From the wording of Section 78(4) of the Electoral Act, the defendant has obligation to register an association as a political party. Consequences of not doing so is to deem the association as deemed registered as a political party.”

The court added that by deeming a political association as a registered party after 30 days, the Electoral Act had given the plaintiff a legal right.

“Plaintiff has legal right; defendant’s preliminary objection dated January 25, 2015, has failed and accordingly dismissed” the court said.

The plaintiff had posed the ollowing questions before the court:

 “Whether by virtue of the Electoral Act 2010, particularly Section 78(4) deeming the plaintiff registered as a political party, and also our extant laws including the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the 1st defendant has any justifiable reason to withhold the certificate of registration of the plaintiff”.

“Whether considering the letter of submission of application dated 17th March 201 and received by the 1st defendant on 1st August 2014 to be registered as a political party and also considering Section 78(4) of the Electoral Act, the plaintiff was a political party?

“Whether considering the letter of acknowledgment and process of application dated 13th of August 2014 from the 1st defendant to the plaintiff and also considering Section 78(4) of the Electoral Act, the plaintiff was a political party?



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