The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed an appeal brought before it by National Unity Party (NUP) challenging its deregistration by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The apex court, in its verdict read by Chima Nweze, a member of its panel, also affirmed that the electoral body has the power to deregister any political party that fails to live up to expectations and rightly exercised its powers conferred on it by the Nigerian constitution.

The NUP had filed its case to challenge the earlier July 29, 2020 verdict of the Court of Appeal upholding its deregistration by the electoral body.

It is not yet over for the electoral commission because another suit it filed against twenty-two deregistered parties pending before the Supreme Court is yet to be heard because of the ongoing judiciary workers’ strike which began last month.

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The parties had defeated INEC at the Appeal Court in Abuja which had, in a judgment delivered on August 10, 2020, ordered it to delist them.

Section 225(a) of the Nigerian Constitution, which came into effect with the signing of the amendment to the constitution in 2018, empowers INEC to deregister any political party on the grounds of poor electoral performance.

It provides specifically that a party is liable for deregistration if it fails to win at least 25 per cent of votes cast in one state of the federation in a presidential election, or one local government of the state in governorship election, or failure to win at least one ward in chairmanship election, one seat in the National or State House of Assembly election or one seat in the councillorship election.

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