Deregistration Ruling: INEC Confused on Judgments, Heads for Supreme Court

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Festus Okoye
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Deregistration Ruling: INEC Confused on Judgments, Heads for Supreme Court

The Independent National Electoral Commission has acknowledged receipt of the judgement of the Court of Appeal which nullified the de-registration of political parties but affirmed that it would head to the Supreme Court.

The commission, however, said it was faced with two conflicting judgements from the Court of Appeal: one affirming its powers to deregister political parties and the other setting aside the de-registration of ACD and 22 others.

The decision by INEC to proceed to the apex court “for a final resolution of the issues raised in the two conflicting judgements,” was contained in a statement by its National Commissioner and chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye on Monday.

He said, “We recall that on July 29, 2020, the Court Appeal, Abuja Judicial Division in an appeal filed by the National Unity Party affirmed the power of the commission (INEC) to deregister political parties that fail to meet the constitutional threshold in section 225A.

“Dissatisfied with the judgment the NUP lodged an appeal which is presently pending before the Supreme Court. The commission is therefore faced with two conflicting judgements from the Court of Appeal: One affirming the powers of the commission to deregister political parties and the other setting aside the deregistration of ACD and 22 others.

“Faced with two conflicting judgements from the same court, the commission is not in a position to pick and choose which one of them to obey.

“Consequently, the commission will approach the Supreme Court for a final resolution of the issues raised in the two conflicting judgements.

The Court of Appeal in Abuja on Monday had reversed the deregistration of 22 political parties, by the Independent National Electoral Commission.

 The judgment delivered by a five-man panel headed by the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, set aside the earlier June 11, 2020 verdict of the Federal High Court in Abuja which had affirmed the deregistration of 32 political parties including the 22 appellants.

 The political parties were among the total of 74 whose deregistration INEC announced in a press statement in February this year.

But the five-man panel of the Court of Appeal unanimously overturned the Federal High Court’s judgment on the grounds that the cancellation of the parties’ registration failed to follow due process.

 The 22 political parties whose registration was restored by the Court of Appeal on Monday are  Avanced Congress of Democrats, Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party, All Blending Party, All Grand Alliance Party, Alliance of Social Democrats, Better Nigeria Progressive Party,  Change Advocacy Party, Democratic People’s Congress, Green Party of Nigeria, and Masses Movement of Nigeria.

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