Court gives nod to deregistration of two more political parties

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The Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday upheld the deregistration of the two more political parties – the Democratic People’s Party and the Reform and Advancement Party.

The two parties were among the 74 parties deregistered by the Independent National Electoral Commission on February 6, 2020.

They were deregistered for their inability to meet the minimum constitutional requirements of election victories in the 2019 poll as stipulated in Section 225(a) of the Nigerian Constitution.

Justices Anwuli Chikere and Taiwo Taiwo both of the Federal High Court in Abuja had earlier upheld the deregistration of about 35 of the affected parties which had filed suits to challenge the cancellation of their registration by INEC.

In separate judgments on Wednesday, Justice Nkeonye Maha dismissed the suits filed by DPP and RAP for lacking in merit.

She held that INEC acted within its power to deregister the political parties on the grounds of the party’s non-compliance with the provision of section 225(a) of the Nigerian Constitution.

She ruled, “Section 225(a) of the 4th Alteration No. 17 Act of the Constitution mandates the defendant to deregister any political party that is not constitutionally compliant.

“Therefore the power of the defendant to deregister any political party that is not constitutionally compliant with the provision is not in doubt.”

The judge added that the parties failed to present any evidence to show that INEC acted wrongly.

Addressing the two parties’ claim that local government elections had yet to hold in all the states of the federation to determine if they would poll the minimum required votes, win a chairmanship position or win a councillorship seat, the judge held that it was speculative.

She held that the court could not act on such speculation, as it could not have been the intention of the drafters of the Constitution that all local government elections must hold in the country before deregistering the deserving parties.

She also dismissed the claim by DPP that it polled 25 per cent of votes cast in Delta and Rivers State in the 2019 general elections, saying no evidence was presented to the court to back it up.


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