Court Upholds INEC’s Deregistration Of 74 Politicial Parties

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The Federal High Court in Abuja has upheld the deregistration of 74 political parties by the Independent National Electoral Commission.

Court Upholds INEC's Deregistration Of 74 Politicial Parties
Court Upholds ’s Deregistration Of 74 Political Parties

The Suit filed was by the National Unity Party, one of the 74 parties deregistered by INEC in February.

Delivering his judgement, Justice Taiwo Taiwo stated that it is constitutional to deregister parties and the reasons given by the Commission for the deregistration of parties are valid, in conformity with the law, sacrosanct and could not be affected by the fact of anticipated Local govt elections by some states which dates were not fixed, certain or even ascertainable.

The Court, therefore, held that the deregistration of National Unity Party as a political party in Nigeria was lawfully done in exercise of vested constitutional powers of the 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 also held that the Party failed to show that the exercise of its powers to deregister the Party was at variance with the law and also ultra vires its powers. Hence the court came to the conclusion that the Plaintiff (the Party) failed to prove its case and the issues for determination cannot be determined in its favour and the reliefs it sought could not be granted to it.

The court quashed the argument of the which is the same legal argument by the 74 deregistered parties that until all Local Govt elections in the country are held instead of only FCT Local elections that the Constitution empowers INEC to conduct, that INEC cannot deregister them.

The deregistration controversy has raged between the electoral commission and the 74 Parties, with INEC holding the position that after fulfilling their constitutional roles of conducting Presidential, Federal and State Legislative, Governorship and FCT Council elections that the stage was set for deregistration of parties which didn’t win any position as required by the Constitution, a position that the Court has now upheld thereby dimming the hope of any of the 74 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, 2020, and October 10, 2020

Adelowo Adegboyega
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