- Affected parties kick
- Senate backs INEC, says more should go
Mixed reactions have trailed the deregistration of 74 political parties by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
With the development, the country now has 18 political parties as against 91 registered parties that participated in the 2019 general elections.
INEC Chairman Prof. Mahmood Yakubu announced the deregistration of the political parties at a press briefing on the status of political parties and conduct of some off-season and by-elections.
18 parties that survive INEC’s hammer
The 18 parties that have survived INEC’s hammer include Accord Party (A), Action Alliance (AA), African Action Congress (AAC), African Democratic Congress (ADC), African Democratic Party (ADP), All Progressives Congress (APC), All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and Allied Peoples Movement (APM).
Others are Labour Party (LP), New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), National Rescue Movement (NRM), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), Social Democratic Party (SDP), Young Progressive Party (YPP) and Zenith Labour Party (ZLP).
Yakubu, however, said one of the political parties, Action Peoples Party (APP), has filed a suit in court and obtained an order restraining the commission from deregistering it, and so remained registered pending the determination of the case by the court.
He also said the 18th party, which was a new political party, Boot Party (BP), registered by court order after the 2019 general elections, will also continue to exist.
Prominent on the list of de-registered parties are National Conscience Party (NCP) founded by the late legal luminary, Chief Gani Fawehinmi; Peoples Coalition Party (PCP) that came third in the 2019 presidential election; KOWA party and Fresh Democratic Party (FDP), which has presented a popular pastor, Rev. Chris Okotie, as its presidential candidate since its formation in 2006.
Yakubu said: “The 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) vests in INEC the power to register and regulate the activities of political parties. You will also recall that in 2018, the constitution was amended.
“In addition to the extant provision for the registration of political parties, the Fourth Alteration to the Constitution (Section 225A) empowers the commission to deregister political parties.”
According to him, prior to the Fourth Alteration, the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) had provided for the deregistration of political parties and that based on that provision, the commission, between 2011 and 2013, deregistered 39 parties, but that several of the parties challenged the power of INEC to deregister them, particularly on the ground that the Electoral Act was inferior to the constitution and that deregistration infringed their fundamental rights under the same constitution.
He said subsequently, the courts ordered INEC to reinstate the parties and that it was for that reason that the National Assembly amended the constitution to empower the commission to deregister political parties on some grounds.
The grounds, he said, included, “Failure to win at least 25% of the votes cast in one state of the federation in a presidential election or 25 per cent of the votes cast in one local government area of a state in a governorship election; Failure to win at least one ward in a chairmanship election, one seat in the national or state assembly election or one seat in a councillorship election.”
More parties should go – Senate panel
Reacting, the chairman of the Senate Committee on INEC, Kabiru Gaya (APC-Kano), commended the commission, saying the development would make life easier for Nigerians during elections.
He said the target of his panel was to further, “trim down the number of political parties in the country to a reasonable figure of either five or eight. Our plan is to make future elections cheaper than that of 2019. This is one of the ways to achieve that.”
Also hailing INEC’s decision, the Executive Director of the Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA), Faith Nwadishi, called on the political class to accept the development.
“For those politicians whose political parties have been de-registered, we call on them to align with any of the 18 political parties whose ideologies are in line with theirs,” she said.
Affected parties kick
National Chairman of National Conscience Party (NCP), Dr Yunusa Tanko, told Daily Trust in a telephone chat yesterday that INEC’s decision was hasty.
Dr Tanko, a former chairman of Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC), said the matter was already at a Federal High Court in Abuja, adding that INEC should reverse its decision.
“It’s a hasty decision and it doesn’t make any sense. It’s better for INEC to reverse its decision before the Federal High Court rules on the matter because it will be embarrassing if the court later rules otherwise,” he said.
For his part, National Chairman of United Progressives Party (UPP), Chief Chekwas Okorie, said he heard the news of deregistration of political parties but that no official letter was served on the UPP.
Okorie, a former presidential candidate of the party, said they would consider teaming up with other de-registered political parties for a way forward.
National Chairman of Democratic Peoples Congress (DPC) Rev. Olusegun Peters told Daily Trust that he was shocked at INEC’s decision to de-register parties.
“We are all surprised because this issue is already in court. So it’s the court that should have the final say on this, not the commission. I’m surprised that they just woke up overnight to de-register this number of political parties,” he said.
Reacting to the development, an Abuja-based lawyer E.M.D. Umukoro said, the action of INEC did not preclude the members of the de-registered political parties from rejoining other political parties, or regrouping to form a bigger political party.
He, however, said the affected parties can approach the court.
Also, reacting to the development, Hamid Ajibola Jimoh Esq, said it depended on the rules set by INEC and the reasons adduced by the electoral umpire to arrive at the action.
The post Mixed reactions as INEC deregisters 74 political parties appeared first on Daily Trust.