Party deregistration: Supreme Court okays INEC’s action

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The power to deregister political parties by the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) has been affirmed by the Supreme Court.

The apex court made this known on Friday, when it dismissed an appeal filed by the National Unity Party (NUP), one of the 74 political parties deregistered by INEC in February 2020.

NUP had in July 29, 2020 challenged the verdict of the Court of Appeal upholding its deregistration by the INEC.

A member of the apex court’s panel, Chima Nweze, who delivered the lead judgment, ruled that INEC rightly exercised its powers conferred on it by the Nigerian constitution in deregistering the party last year.

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 councellorship election.

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