Court dismisses case by 32 political parties against deregistration by INEC
A Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday dismissed the suit filed by 32 out of the 74 political parties deregistered on February 6 this year by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Justice Anwuli Chikere, in a judgment, held that the plaintiffs failed to prove their claim that INEC acted unlawfully by deregistering them.
Justice Chikere held that INEC has the powers to deregister any political party that fails to meet the requirements under Section 225(a), (b) & (6) of the Constitution as contained in the 4th Alteration to the Constitution, which came into effect in June 2018.
The judge noted that it is a fact that the plaintiffs have contested elections since the constitutional provision took effect, “but they failed to state the seats they have won; they failed to present certificates of return that they have been issued by the 2nd respondent (INEC).
“They failed to provide sufficient evidence to enable the court exercise its discretion in their favour.”
The judge vacated an interim restraining order earlier granted against the respondents – the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and INEC.
Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD) and 32 other political parties had filed the suit, marked: FHC//ABJ/ CS/444/19, challenging their deregistration.
Although 33 political parties filed the case, two of the parties – Labour Party (LP) and African Democratic Congress (ADC) – were later excluded from the case following information that they were not among the deregistered parties
On June 3 this year, one party, Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN) had its joiner application granted, raising the number of plaintiffs to 32.
Some of the plaintiffs are: 32 political parties are: Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD) Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP) All Blending Party (ABP) All Grand Alliance Party (AGAP) Better Nigeria Progressive Party (BNPP) Democratic People’s Congress (DPC) Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) and Green Party of Nigeria (GPN)