Reprieve came the way of seven deregistered political parties on Thursday, as the Court of Appeal sitting in Enugu, ordered the restoration of their status as registered political parties in the country.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had de-registered them on August 18, 2011 for failure to win any seat either in the state House of Assembly or National Assembly, in accordance to Section 78 (7) of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended
The parties are: Democratic Alternative, DA; National Action Council, NAC; National Democratic Liberty Party, NDLP; Masses Movement of Nigeria, MMN; Nigeria Peoples Congress, NPC; Nigeria Elements Progressive Party, NEPP and National Unity Party, NUP.
After their deregistration, an Onitsha-based human rights lawyer, Jezie Ekejiuba had approached a Federal High Court sitting in Awka, to challenge INEC’s action, arguing that it was unconstitutional.
The suit was however dismissed by Justice J. Ojukwu for lack of merit, saying that INEC had the power to de-register political parties under the Nigerian constitution.
Ekejiuba approached the Appeal Court to contest the verdict.
The court, in its judgment delivered by Justice Tom Yakubu on behalf of other concurring judges, Justice Rita Pemu and Justice Omodere Bolaji-Yusuf, set aside the lower court judgment and ordered the restoration to life of all seven de-registered political parties and granted all the five reliefs sought by the Plaintiff/Appellant.
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