The Supreme Court has again affirmed the powers of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to de-register political parties in the country.
The apex court had last year ruled that the electoral body had the powers to scrap political parties it deemed so. While delisting 74 political parties in 2020, the commission said the affected parties performed abysmally low during the 2019 general election.
It said neither of them won any elective position nor met the criteria provided for by section 225(a) of the 1999 constitution (as amended).
Twenty-three of the parties affected dragged INEC to court but the federal high court ruled in favour of the electoral body. Not satisfied, they approached the Appeal Court where the judgement of the lower court was upturned.
The electoral body thereafter approached the apex court over two conflicting judgements from the Court of Appeal – one affirming the powers of the Commission to deregister political parties and the other that sets aside the deregistration of ACD and 22 others.
The 23 parties restored by the appeal court order are; Advanced Congress of Democrats, Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party, All Blending Party, All Grand Alliance Party, Alliance of Social Democrats, Better Nigeria Progressive Party, Change Advocacy Party, Democratic People’s Congress, Green Party of Nigeria, and Masses Movement of Nigeria.
Others are Mega Party of Nigeria, New Generation Party of Nigeria, Nigeria for Democracy, Peoples Coalition Party, Progressives Peoples Alliance, People for Democratic Change, Young Democratic Party, Re-build Nigeria Party, Save Nigeria Congress, Socialist Party of Nigeria, United Democratic Party, United Patriots, and We The People Nigeria.
Delivering judgment on Friday, the apex court upheld the deregistering of the parties, setting aside the verdict of the Appeal Court.
“This appeal by INEC is meritorious and is hereby allowed,” Justice Ejembi Eko ruled. “The decision of the court below is set aside.”