A Federal High Court in Abuja has affirmed the powers of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to de-register political parties which fail to win at least one elective office as contained in section 225 A of the 1999 constitution as amended.
Justice Taiwo Taiwo delivered the judgment, yesterday, in the suit filed by the National Unity Party (NUP) challenging the decision of INEC to de-register it alongside 73 other parties in February.
The court quashed the argument of the NUP, the same legal argument canvased by the 74 de-registered parties, that until all local government elections in the country are held, instead of only the FCT local council elections that the constitution empowers INEC to conduct, the national electoral umpire lacked the power to de-register a party.
The court held that the constitutional power of INEC and the reasons it gave for de-registering the parties were valid and in conformity with the law.
INEC had argued that after fulfilling their constitutional roles of conducting presidential, governorship, federal and states’ legislative and FCT council elections, it was in the right standing to de-register parties that failed to win any position as required by the law.
In view of the judgment, only 18 political parties would be participating in the Edo and Ondo states governorship elections scheduled for September 19 and October 10.
Efforts to reach the National Chairman of NUP, Chief Perry Opara, were unsuccessful as his phone lines were switched off.