INEC heads to Supreme Court over conflicting court orders on deregistered parties

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has concluded plans to approach the Supreme Court over a Court of Appeal judgment reinstating 23 deregistered political parties in Nigeria.

 

A Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja on Monday overturned a ruling by a lower court affirming the de-registration of 74 political parties by INEC.

The electoral body had, on February 6, this year, de-registered 74 political parties for failing to win any political office in the last general election.

Dissatisfied by the ruling, the Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD) and 22 other parties approached the court to challenge their de-registration by INEC.

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Delivering judgment on Monday, a panel led by the appeal court president, Monica Dongban-Mensemun unanimously overturned the judgment of the lower court.

The court held that INEC ignored due process in exercising its powers under section 225(a) of the constitution (as amended), noting that the parties already filed their suit at the lower court which was yet to be determined before the deregistration.

The appellate court added that INEC failed to give reasons to the parties on why they could no longer exist.

But INEC, in a statement on Monday by National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr. Festus Okoye, said it will approach the apex court for final resolution of the issue.

The commission said it was faced with two conflicting judgements from the Court of Appeal – one affirming the powers of the Commission to deregister political parties and the other that sets aside the deregistration of ACD and 22 others.

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Okoye said: “We recall that on July 29, 2020, the Court Appeal, Abuja Judicial Division in an appeal filed by the National Unity Party (NUP) affirmed the power of the Commission (INEC) to deregister political parties that fail to meet the constitutional threshold in section 225A. Dissatisfied with the judgment the National Unity Party lodged an appeal which is presently pending before the Supreme Court.

“Faced with two conflicting judgements from the same Court, the Commission is not in a position to pick and choose which one of them to obey.

“Consequently, the Commission will approach the Supreme Court for a final resolution of the issues raised in the two conflicting judgements.

The 23 parties restored by the appeal court order are; Advanced Congress of Democrats, Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party, All Blending Party, All Grand Alliance Party, Alliance of Social Democrats, Better Nigeria Progressive Party, Change Advocacy Party, Democratic People’s Congress, Green Party of Nigeria, and Masses Movement of Nigeria.

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Others are Mega Party of Nigeria, New Generation Party of Nigeria, Nigeria for Democracy, Peoples Coalition Party, Progressives Peoples Alliance, People for Democratic Change, Young Democratic Party, Re-build Nigeria Party, Save Nigeria Congress, Socialist Party of Nigeria, United Democratic Party, United Patriots, and We The People Nigeria.

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