The supreme court of Nigeria has upheld the de-registration of 22 political parties by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
You would recall that INEC had de-registered 74 parties for “failing to meet the criteria provided for by section 225(a) of the 1999 constitution (as amended)”.
Some of the de-registered parties sought a court injunction to determine whether INEC has the constitutional power to deregister them.
A federal high court in Abuja, agreed with INEC and dismissed the suit on the grounds that the plaintiffs failed to prove their case, however on Appeal, the court, the court held that INEC acted arbitrarily and thereby denied the parties fair hearing, ordering that INEC should re-list them as political parties in the country.
In Supreme court judgment read by Ejembi Eko, he said it was the appellate court that had on its own, raised the issue of fair hearing in favour of the political parties and arrived at a conclusion without also hearing from other parties in the matter.
He further said the appellate court erred in law by raising the issue of fair hearing in favour of the political parties and declined to give opportunity to other respondents to address it on the matter in order to arrive at a just conclusion.
He reiterated that It is not the basic function of any court to raise a fundamental issue suo motu and come to the conclusion without being addressed by parties in the matter. Such action runs foul of the pillar of the fair hearing itself,”
He delivered that “This appeal by INEC is meritorious and it is hereby allowed, the decision of the court below is set aside.”
The affected 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),
Mega Party of Nigeria (MPN).
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).