Deregistered parties are just buying time by suing INEC – Ekweremadu

Ike Ekweremadu, lawmaker representing Enugu West at the Senate, says deregistered political parties suing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) are just buying time.

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Over 70 political parties were deregistered by INEC over their inability to meet the requirements for continued existence.

Some of the parties have approached the court seeking a reversal of the action. The electoral body has been ordered to maintain status quo pending the determination of the suit filed against it.

Speaking on the issue when he appeared on Hard Copy at the weekend, a Channels Television programme, the former deputy Senate President said the electoral commission is constitutionally empowered to deregister parties which fails to meet requirements for its continued existence.

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He described the parties seeking redress as being ignorant of what the constitution says, adding that they are just buying time.

“Yes, I understood that they went to court for an induction to restrain INEC from deregistering those political parties. Well, I think they are just buying time,” Mr Ekweremadu said on Friday.

“The Constitution has been amended; probably, they did not have the opportunity of going through what the law says before they went to court, or their lawyers did not advise them properly.

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“We amended the Constitution and the President signed it into law, empowering INEC to deregister political parties on a number of reasons, one which is that a party fails to meet a condition upon which you were registered in the first place.

“So, if they say a party is to maintain an office in five places and the party could only maintain only one, then INEC says that since we cannot see the remaining four, you can go.

“But if you decide to run for a presidential election as a political party and you did not make 25 per cent in one state, then you are gone.

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“And you decide to run for governorship and do not make 25 per cent in any local government in that state, then INEC can decide to deregister you (party).

“If a party wants to run for a legislative election, either the state or National Assembly and a party refuses to win a seat, of course, they can deregister the party.

“Let us now say the local government elections, and a party fails to win a council seat. INEC can also deregister such a party. The law is clear,” he added.

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At the moment, 18 political parties are presently existing in the country, although there are fears that more will soon be deregistered also.

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