Appeal Court Reinstates 22 Political Parties, Says INEC’s Action Illegal
The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has reinstated 22 political parties de-registered by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Some of the parties reinstated by the court are Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD) and Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA).
Their de-registration was reversed on Monday in a judgment prepared and signed by the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem.
In a unanimous decision, the court declared as illegal, unconstitutional, null and void, the judgement of the Federal High Court upholding INEC’s action de-registering the political parties.
A four-man panel of judges led by Justice Sodipe Lokulo held that the de-registration was illegal because the due process was not followed.
The court also held that INEC’s action was not in compliance with Section 225(a)of the 1999 Constitution as amended, as the electoral umpire did not indicate reasons for the de-registration of the political parties.
On February 6, INEC announced that it had deregistered 74 out of the 91 political parties in the country.
It said it took the decision following a review of the performance of political parties after the 2019 general elections to see which parties qualify to exists.
Although a total of 75 parties were listed for deregistration, one of them – Action People’s Party (APP) – had obtained a court order restraining the electoral umpire from deregistering it.
The electoral umpire stated that the 1999 Constitution vested in it the power to register and regulate the activities of political parties.
It added that the Constitution was amended in 2018 and in addition to the extant provision for the registration of political parties, the Fourth Alteration to the Constitution (Section 225A) empowered the commission to deregister political parties.
Dissatisfied with the development, some of the political parties tested the legality of INEC’s action at the Federal High Court in Abuja.
But in a judgement delivered in June, Justice Taiwo Taiwo reaffirmed the powers of the electoral umpire to deregister political parties in the country.