The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced that it plans to approach the Supreme Court over the appellate court’s conflicting judgements on INEC’s deregistration of several political parties.
Festus Okoye, INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee revealed this after confirming that INEC had received a copy of the judgement of the Court of Appeal delivered on Monday, Aug. 10, 2020 in an Appeal filed by the Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD) and 22 other parties relating to their deregistration by the Commission.
“In the judgement, the Court of Appeal held that the deregistration of ACD and 22 others is ultra vires the powers of the Commission and ordered the Commission to reinstate them.”
Okoye said that on July 29, 2020, the Court Appeal, Abuja Judicial Division in an appeal filed by the National Unity Party (NUP) agreed that INEC had the powers to deregister political parties that fail to meet the constitutional threshold in section 225A.
He added that dissatisfied with the judgment the National Unity Party 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.”
Okoye noted that meanwhile, the Commission was focused on preparations for the conduct of the Edo and Ondo Governorship elections scheduled to hold on Sept. 19, and Oct. 10.
He added that the commission was strictly and methodically following its timetable and schedule of activities derived from the Constitution and the Electoral Act.
“We assure Nigerians and the people of Edo and Ondo States that the Commission is on course and will deliver on its mandate.”
INEC had, on Feb. 6, deregistered 74 political parties for their inability to fulfil requirements for existence based on Section 225A of the 1999 Constitution (as amended)
It cited that the 1999 Constitution (as amended) vests in INEC, the power to register and regulate activities of political parties.