Appeal Court upturns deregistration of 22 political parties by INEC

The Court of Appeal in Abuja has nullified the deregistration of 22 political parties by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

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

They parties are; Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD), Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP), All Blending Party (ABP), All Grand Alliance Party (AGAP), Alliance of Social Democrats (ASD), Change Advocacy Party (CAP), Democratic People’s Congress (DPC), Green Party of Nigeria (GPN), Masses Movement of Nigeria (MMN) and Mega Party of Nigeria (MPN).

Others are: New Generation Party of Nigeria (NGPA), Nigeria For Democracy (NFD), Peoples Coalition Party (PCP), Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), People for Democratic Change (PDC), Young Democratic Party (YDP), Re-Build Nigeria Party (RBNP), Save Nigeria Congress (SNC), Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN), United Democratic Party (UDP), United Patriots (UP) and We The People of Nigeria (WTPN).

The parties had sued last year on warning of plan by INEC to exercise its power to de-register parties, as contained in the 4th Alteration Act, which President Muhammadu Buhari assented to in 2018.

In the judgement, the court noted that the electoral umpire failed to inform the parties why they could no longer exist.

The Court of Appeal also noted that the de-registration of the appellants was illegal because INEC failed to comply with due process of law.

The court noted that Section 40 of the Constitution entitles citizens to the freedom of association, and as such, the right conferred on a political party cannot be taken away except in accordance with the provisions of the law and due process.

The Court of Appeal proceeded to set aside the June 11, 2020 judgment of the Federal High Court, Abuja and ordered that the appellants should henceforth be listed as political parties in the country.

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