INEC to challenge reversal of deregistration of 22 parties by Appeal Court

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it will approach the Supreme Court over conflicting rulings by the Court of Appeal on its powers to deregister political parties.

Its National Commissioner and Chairman of Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, in a statement, said: “Faced with two conflicting judgments from the same court, the commission is not in a position to pick and choose which one of them to obey.”

The Court of Appeal in Abuja on Monday reversed the deregistration of 22 political parties by the electoral umpire.

A panel of the Court of Appeal, led by the court’s president, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, held  that INEC ignored due process in exercising its powers under Section 225(a) of the Constitution (as amended).

The judgment was on an appeal filed by the 22 political parties.

The parties were among the 74 de-registered on February 6 by INEC for not meeting necessary constitutional requirements.

But in the statement after the ruling, Okoye said: “The INEC is in receipt of the judgment of the Court of Appeal, delivered on August 10, 2020 in an appeal filed by ACD and 22 others relating to their deregistration by the commission.

“In the judgement, the Court of Appeal held that the deregistration of ACD & 22 others is ultra vires the powers of the Commission and ordered the Commission to reinstate them.

“We recall that on July 29, 2020, the Court of Appeal, Abuja Judicial Division in an appeal filed by the National Unity Party (NUP) 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 National Unity Party lodged an appeal which is presently pending before the Supreme Court.”

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