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Court says INEC deregistration of 74 political parties valid, legal

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INEC says court lacks jurisdiction to hear Okorocha’s suit, asks for dismissal

A Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday ruled that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) deregistration of 74 political parties was valid and legal.

The court, presided over by Justice Taiwo O. Taiwo said the electoral body had the power to deregister political parties which failed to comply with the provisions of the law, particularly Section 225 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.

He gave the judgment in a suit filed by the National Unity Party (NUP), one of the 74 parties deregistered by the INEC in February.

The judge said the reasons INEC gave for the deregistration of parties were valid and 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.

Justice Taiwo, therefore, ruled that the deregistration was lawfully done in exercise of vested constitutional powers of the INEC in accordance with Section 225A of the 1999 Constitution.

READ ALSO: INEC to introduce e-voting in 2021, decries high cost of elections

The ruling terminated the legal existence of the party and also all its other rights and obligations.

The court further held that the party was not able to show that the exercise of INEC’s powers to deregister the party was at variance with the law and also ultra vires its powers.

Hence the court concluded that the plaintiff (NUP) 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 acting president of the Inter-Party Advisory Council, (IPAC) and AAC Party chairman, Dr Leonard Nzenwa, who reacted to the ruling said that until the ruling was upturned on appeal that only the 18 political parties recognized by INEC would participate in the coming governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states.

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