The Professor Mahmood Yakubu-led Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been accused of disobeying an order of the Court of Appeal to relist 22 deregistered parties.
The Inter-Party Advisory Council of Nigeria (IPAC) made the allegation against the body on Saturday, saying that all the 22 parties had been excluded from political participation.
In a statement by its national legal adviser, Chukwudi Ezeobika against the backdrop of a pending judgment of the Supreme Court on Tuesday on whether or not INEC has powers to deregister parties, IPAC said:
“The commission has persistently refused to honour any written document from any of the 22 parties despite the court order and in complete disobedience to the judgment and order of the Court of Appeal
“The council wishes to inform its members and the general public that the Independent National Electoral Commission under Prof. Mahmood Yakubu has consciously, willfully and deliberately excluded the 22 relisted political parties from political participation in clear violation of and disregard for the unanimous declaratory judgment of the Court of Appeal delivered by the president of the court, and has failed to deal with the relisted parties howsoever.
“All that the 22 reinstated parties have asked INEC to do is to relist them as ordered by the Court of Appeal and the commission is expected to obey the Court of Appeal declaratory judgment and immediately relist them to discharge their constitutional mandates as guaranteed by our laws.”
IPAC said that the continued disregard and disobedience to the unanimous judgment and order of the Court of Appeal by INEC portrays the commission in a very bad light and as one which has no regard for the Rule of Law in Nigeria.
“The Inter-Party Advisory Council of Nigeria under High Chief Peter Ameh calls on the commission to always seek pure legal advice before proceeding on sensitive decision and always seek and obtain inputs from the Council to guide it in future decisions that affect political parties in Nigeria.
“We are of the firm resolve that any action by any member of the commission to undermine the integrity and or jurisdiction of our courts will be met with a blunt resistance.
“The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) remains supreme and superior to all other laws and subsidiary legislations and the Council shall continue to fight for the rights of Nigerians to participate and have alternative political platforms to participate in the political process in Nigeria.
“The unanimous declaratory judgment of the Court of Appeal remains a victory for our democracy and purely dedicated to late Chief Gani Fawehinmi who, before his death with working with Balarabe Muas, pursued this same matter even to the Supreme Court.
“It is appalling to misinform Nigerians that the 22 relisted political parties have submitted their letters to participate in the scheduled governorship elections when the door of the commission has remained permanently shut against the relisted parties, against court orders,” IPAC said.
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