Inter Party Advisory Council has commended Supreme Court over its judgment upholding the deregistration of 74 political parties by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Recall that INEC had deregistered 74 out of Nigeria’s 92 political parties for their poor performance in the 2019 general elections.
The existing political parties after the deregistration were: Accord, (A); Action Alliance, (AA); African Action Congress (AAC), African Democratic Congress (ADC), African Democratic Party (ADP) and All Progressive Congress (APC),
There are also All Progressive Grand Alliance (APG); Allied Peoples Movement (APM), Labour Party (LP), National Rescue Movement (NNPP), National Rescue Movement (NRM),
The others are Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), Social Democratic Party (SDP), Young Progressive Party (YPP), Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) and Boot Party.
Speaking on the judgment, the President of IPAC, Dr. Leonard Nzenwa, said the judgment had ended all speculations, adding that it will aid INEC to now focus on critical issues in preparation for delivering credible, free and fair 2023 general election.
According to the judgment by the Supreme Court, the deregistration of the National Unity Party (NUP) one of the 74 parties, was done in line with the laws and compliance with the extant provisions of the Constitution and Electoral Act.
The apex Court in a virtual judgment delivered by justice Mary Odili on Friday, has also sealed the fate of the remaining 73 parties, many of whom have their appeals still pending in the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal.
Also speaking, Election Observer groups, several Civil Society Organizations and the Council of Nigerian Ethnic Youth Leaders were unanimous in their applause for the Supreme Court saying, the judgment has sanitized the electoral space and that the judgment is a victory for democracy and an end to one man political parties.
They also called on the National Assembly to quickly amend the Constitution and Electoral Act to stop further registration of more political parties saying, the 18 remaining parties should be enough to satisfy all political tendencies in the country.
The NUP had challenged their deregistration by INEC at the Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal where they lost in both Courts and the Supreme Court has by affirming the concurrent finding of the lower courts, upheld not only the powers of INEC to deregister political parties but also that the process and procedure for the deregistration of the 74 political parties was in compliance with extant laws.
Meanwhile in her reaction to the Supreme Court judgment, National Chairman, Young Democratic Party (YDP),
Aye Georgina Dakpokpo referred to the judgement as “misleading viral news that the Supreme Court has affirmed INEC’S deregistration of all Political Parties.”
In a chart with News Express after the judgement, the immediate past secretary of IPAC said,
“It’s interesting how bad news that is half truth can quickly go viral.
“Anyone who has been truthfully following this illegal action by INEC would know that these are two distinct cases.
“In fact, the Court of Appeal ruling in our case – ACD & 21 Others V INEC, also affirmed the decision by INEC to deregister NUP, while stating that due process wasn’t followed in our case.
“The prayers of the two cases are different. While NUP goes to the POWER, ours goes to the PROCESS.
“So, indeed we are on course.
“This is not the first time or second time for that matter that INEC has deregistered Political Parties. Each time, Parties were told they could not fight INEC because INEC is government. Well, some believed and didn’t fight, others fought and prevailed – True Democracy prevailed.
“An interesting case is that of PRP (the late Balarabe’s Party) Jega deregistered the PRP, they went to court, won and were reinstated after Jega left. Today, the same Jega is now a card carrying member of PRP.
“Yes, indeed, we are on course and we shall prevail.
“God bless YDP!
God bless the Nigeria!”