Court affirms INEC’s power to deregister political parties
Justice Anwuli Chikere of the Federal High Court, Abuja, yesterday reaffirmed the powers of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to deregister political parties.
The court, in its judgement, held that Section 225(a) of the constitution gave INEC the power to deregister parties that failed to comply with the provisions of the constitution.
Some 32 political parties had approached the court seeking to set aside the decision of INEC to deregister 74 political parties.The affected political parties include Advanced Congress of Democrats, Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party, All Blending Party, All Grand Alliance Party, Better Nigeria Progressive Party, Democratic People’s Congress, Freedom and Justice Party as well as Green Party of Nigeria.
Last month, Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court, in two separate judgements, upheld the same powers of INEC. Taiwo affirmed the deregistration of the National Unity Party and the Hope Democratic Party by the electoral umpire.
In yesterday’s judgement, Chikere held that the parties failed to state sufficient facts to support their claims, stressing that “where a provision of the law is unambiguous, it ought to be given its simple interpretation.”
The court also vacated the earlier injunction granted to the political parties and dismissed their suit in its entirety.The parties had filed their suit last year to restrain INEC from carrying out the exercise when they got to know about the plans of the commission to delete parties that were not performing in line with constitutional provisions.
The judge had in February 2020 issued an order restraining INEC from deregistering the 32 political parties, pending the determination of the suit.
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