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INEC’s action hasty, unconstitutional, says ANN

By Eniola Daniel
08 February 2020   |   4:09 am
The National Chairman of Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN), Emmanuel Dania, has described the deregistering of 74 political parties by the Independent National Electoral Commission...

The National Chairman of Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN), Emmanuel Dania, has described the deregistering of 74 political parties by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as a slap on the faces of Nigerians who seek a better country and voted for the parties in the 2019 general elections.

Speaking yesterday in Ikeja, Lagos, Dania said the decision of INEC to deregister the parties was hasty and unconstitutional.

He said: “Our response to the announcement by INEC is borne out of the consideration for the principle of justice, fair play and respect for the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Nigerian constitution is bigger than any organ, arm or agency of government and the provisions are to be upheld and respected by all including INEC.

“The constitutional position is clear on how and when political parties can be deregistered and that position is yet to be attained.

This position is contained in the February 6, 2020, statement by the Inter Party Advisory Council of Nigeria (IPAC) which clearly highlighted that the constitutional provisions are clear as stated in Section 229, which defines a political party to include associations whose activities shall include canvassing for votes in support of a candidate for election into a local government council. This provision has not been fully exhausted because we have candidates in local government areas whose elections are coming up soon.”

Dania added: “We are therefore stating that INEC as an institution ought to have been responsible enough to have waited until elections are held in all 774 LGAs and 8,809 electoral wards in Nigeria before the hasty announcement of Thursday, February 6, 2020 was made.

“We are not deterred by this announcement and we are in alignment with the position of IPAC that a matter that is already before a competent court of law and yet to be decided cannot be subjected to the whims and caprices of INEC.

“It is important to re-emphasise the fact that 33 political parties that are members of the council moved a motion at the Federal High Court in Abuja for an order of interlocutory injunction restraining INEC from deregistering the concerned political parties, pending the determination of the suit on February 17, 2020, but the INEC proceeded in error to foist a state of helplessness on the judiciary.

“INEC’s action is an affront on the judiciary and such act must be discouraged because it is a disregard for the rule of law and a contempt of court.”

Describing the news of the deregistration of ANN as fake news, Dania noted that “the office of the National Chairman or any of its secretariat has not been served by INEC of any notice of deregistration.”

He added: “The only communication we have received from INEC after the last verification exercise at the national headquarters was that the state chapters of the party would equally be verified. For this reason, we consider the news making the rounds as fake news or some form of misrepresentation of INEC.

“We have taken this position because a professional institution such as INEC that has related with all political parties and ANN through formal communication would not announce that the same political party has been deregistered on the pages of some newspapers without due process of notification. And should this be, then we can see that INEC is truly hasty for something that Nigerians and every young person in this country needs to be wary of.

“Let’s not be quick to forget that the voice of the Nigerian youth in the political arena today is ANN.

If INEC takes a position that is not constitutional against such a voice then we must see this beyond the news and ask questions. Why is INEC not waiting for the outcome of the court verdict? Why is INEC not allowing all the elections in the 774 LGA to happen before this position? Why deregister in 2020 when the next presidential election is in 2023? We must ask INEC questions. The challenge with Nigeria is not far-fetched from the fact that the rule of law is not enforced.”

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