Thursday, 21 January, 2021

Court Backs INEC’s Deregistration Of National Unity Party

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has ruled that the Independent National Electoral Commission lawfully de-registered the National Unity Party as a political party in Nigeria.

In a ruling on Monday, Justice Taiwo Taiwo found that INEC validly exercised its powers in Section 225A of the 1999 constitution (as amended) when it terminated NUP’s political party status.

The judge made the pronouncement in NUP’s suit filed on February 24, 2020 via a February 21 originating summons, adding that the party provided no evidence that it met the criteria for it not to be de-registered. 

The party prayed the court to declare that INEC had no power under section 225A of the constitution “to de-register the plaintiff as a political party or any other political party for failure to win any of the offices mentioned therein or score certain per cent of votes mention therein without the completion of election in the 774 local government areas in Nigeria and all states of the federation.

The party also prayed for an order of perpetual injunction restraining INEC “from de-registering, sanctioning or taking any other administrative decision” against the NUP as a duly registered political party in Nigeria.

Dismissing the plaintiff’s case, Justice Taiwo held among others, that the plaintiff failed to prove its case.

“On the violation of section 225A(c) of the constitution (supra), the plaintiff has contended that chairmanship and councillorship elections are yet to be conducted in various states and as such it ought not to be de-registered.

“This court finds this untenable as it will be preposterous to interpret the said provisions to be dependent on purported conduct of all local government or area council elections at whatever time it is conducted.

“Furthermore, the Plaintiff has not shown how the exercise of the power was at variance with the law or ultra vires. The act of de-registration of the plaintiff is within the vested constitutional powers of the defendant.

“I cannot but come to the conclusion that the Plaintiff has failed to prove its case…The reliefs being sought cannot in anyway be granted in the light of the Constitutional provisions under which the suit was brought,” Justice Taiwo held.

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