Strong condemnations have greeted the deregistration of 28 political parties by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The National Chairman of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), Balarabe Musa said INEC’s action is unconstitutional and promised to contest the action in court.
A lawyer also said INEC has no power to proscribe political parties under the constitution which supersedes all other laws, including the electoral act on which the commission based its action.
The deregistered parties have won no seats in recent presidential, governorship, national or state assembly elections as stipulated by the electoral act 2011 as amended.
But legal practitioners interviewed by Channels Television’s correspondent said in interpreting the law, the 1999 constitution holds supreme over any other law and only authorizes INEC in sections 222 and 223 of the constitution to register political parties with no provisions for their deregistration.
Mr Musa said INEC has no powers to delist a party which has fulfilled all requirements expected of a political party by the constitution. According to him, a similar action was contested and won in 2003 and will be contested again by the affected parties.
So far, INEC is yet to give reasons for deregistering these parties and the ultimate fate of the parties will be left to the courts to decide yet again.
APGA begs for reconsideration
The National Secretary of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Sani Abdullahi Shinkafi, implored INEC to administratively reconsider its action on the recent de-registration of 28 Political Parties.
The party insisted that INEC’s action “will ultimately work against the intent and spirit of Nigerian Constitution which specifies the need for Nigerians to freely associate with one another, without let or hindrance, as well as, the action will close up the much needed wide and open Political and democratic space, which ordinarily allows every shade of opinion to be democratically expressed and be heard.”
APGA urged the Political Parties de-registered by INEC not to allow it to affect their would-be desire to contribute to the building of genuine democratic norms, ideals and culture in Nigeria.
ALP rejects deregistration
The National chairman of African Liberation Party, Emma Okereke, who was affected by this action, has rejected the action taken by INEC describing it as unconstitutional and unlawful as the action is capable of collapsing the nation’s nascent democracy and lead to total anarchy in the country as inec has not given any cogent reason for deregistering the parties.
Speaking to newsmen in Owerri, the Imo state capital, Mr Okereke said the Nigerian constitution allows right for freedom of association and also encourages multiparty system and it is not in the constitution that INEC has any right to deregister any political party as the electoral act is not the Nigerian constitution.
He added that some political parties in the country are not only registered for electioneering purposes but for other important purposes that affects the country’s democracy.
He however disclosed INEC still has a case pending in court with his party as regards some illegalities in the 2011 elections conducted by the commission and since the case is still pending in court, INEC has no right to deregister his party without the court verdict.
Mr Okereke called on all stalk holders in the country to call the INEC boss to order in order to protect the nation’s nascent democracy and rule of law.