The Court of Appeal, Abuja, on Monday ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to enlist 22 political parties that were earlier deregistered by the commission.
The commission had in February de-registered 74 parties for failing to meet the criteria provided for by section 225(a) of the 1999 constitution (as amended).
Dissatisfied by INEC‘s decision, some of the parties jointly filed a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/444/2019 and asked the Federal High Court, Abuja, to determine whether the commission had the constitutional power to deregister them.
However, the court on June 11 dismissed the parties’ quest for reversal of their deregistration by INEC.
The parties are: Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD), Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP), All Blending Party (ABP), All Grand Alliance Party (AGAP), Alliance of Social Democrats (ASD), Change Advocacy Party (CAP), Democratic People’s Congress (DPC), Green Party of Nigeria (GPN), Masses Movement of Nigeria (MMN) and Mega Party of Nigeria (MPN).
Others are: New Generation Party of Nigeria (NGPA), Nigeria For Democracy (NFD), Peoples Coalition Party (PCP), Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), People for Democratic Change (PDC), Young Democratic Party (YDP), Re-Build Nigeria Party (RBNP), Save Nigeria Congress (SNC), Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN), United Democratic Party (UDP), United Patriots (UP) and We The People of Nigeria (WTPN).
At Monday’s hearing, a panel of the appellate court led by the court’s president, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, 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).
It noted that the parties already filed their suit at the lower court which was yet to be determined before the deregistration.
The appellate court also held that the commission had failed to explain to the parties the reasons for their deregistration.
Dongban-Mensem said the parties did not challenge INEC’s powers as enshrined on section 225(a) of the constitution but the process by which they were axed by the commission.
She directed INEC to immediately enlist the parties.
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