Nigeria: Supreme Court Upholds De-Registration of 22 Political Parties

The Supreme Court has upheld the de-registration of 22 political parties by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The parties were among the 74 de-registered in 2020 by INEC following their poor performances in elections.

Justice Ejembi Eko of the apex court voided and set aside a judgment of the Court of Appeal, Abuja division, which had nullified the de-registration.

Justice Eko held that the Court Appeal on its own raised the issue of lack of fair hearing in favour of the 22 scrapped parties and arrived at a conclusion without hearing from other parties in the matter.

The apex court held that the Court of Appeal took out the issue of fair hearing out of the contemplations of the notice of appeal filed by the political parties but refused to do the needful in order to be fair to others in the matter.

A few hours after, a group, Equity and Justice in Politics and Governance Movement, commended INEC chairman, Professor Mahmud Yakubu, for sanitising Nigeria’s electoral system.

Convener of the group, Momodu Tarkaa, said the decision to de-register those parties had brought sanity to the electoral system.

INEC had on February 6, 2020 de-registered 74 political parties for failing to win any political office in the last general election.

The Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD) and 21 other parties sued at the Federal High Court in Abuja to challenge their deregistration.

In a judgment on June 11, 2020, the Federal High Court dismissed the suit on the grounds that INEC was empowered to de-register parties that failed to win elections.

The court held that Section 225(a), (b) and (c) of the Constitution could be construed disjointively to imply that INEC possesses the power to deregister parties.

Tarkaa, in a statement, after the judgement was delivered said with the judgement, the confusion created by two many political parties without electoral value was over.

According to him, INEC can now focus and concentrate on how the electoral system in the country can be further deepened and enhanced, so that Nigerians can have dividend of democracy.