Supreme Court says INEC can deregister political party
The Supreme Court has ruled in favour of the Independent Nationa Electoral Commission (INEC) decision to deregistered 74 political parties, by upholding the earlier judgment of the Appeal Court on the matter.
In the judgment delivered by Justice Adamu Jauro, the Supreme Court, on Friday, said the deregistration of NUP, one of the 74 parties, was done in line with the laws and compliance with the extant provisions of the Constitution and Electoral Act.
INEC had last year deregistered the political parties over their inability to win any election during the 2019 general elections.
The apex court panel which delivered the judgment in a virtual proceeding that was led by Justice Mary Odili, said it found no reason to set-aside the concurrent findings of the Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal, which had earlier upheld INEC’s decision to deregister some political parties.
It will be recalled that NUP was among 74 political parties that INEC deregistered on February 6 last year for failing to win any seat in either Federal, State or Local Government level, during the 2019 general elections.
The NUP, which was dissatisfied with INEC’s decision, subsequently lost its bid to be relisted as a political party by both the High Court and the Court of Appeal.
It had among other things, contended that INEC’s action was arbitrary, unconstitutional and amounted to an infringement of its right as a political association.
The Supreme Court held that INEC acted within the law and in compliance with extant provisions of the Electoral Act.
The apex court maintained that the lower courts were right when they held that section 225(a) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, empowered INEC to deregister any political party that failed to meet the statutory threshold of the registration requirement for political parties.
It, therefore, dismissed NUP’s appeal and ordered parties in the matter to bear their litigation cost.