By Ayo Kehinde
Pro Mahmood Yakubu, INEC Chairman
The Court of Appeal in Abuja on Monday reversed deregistration of 22 political parties by the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC in February, 2020
INEC had deregistered a total number of the 74 political parties early this year on the ground that they had failed the constitutional requirements.
But Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, president of the court in reading the unanimous decision of a panel knocked INEC for setting aside the Constitution in taking the decision.
She faulted the INEC one two grounds. That the Commission ought to have informed the political parties, which were in already appealing an earlier High Court ruling in favour of INEC over the matter and that the Commission ignored due process in exercising its powers under Section 225(a) of the Constitution (as amended).
According to the appellate court, Section 40 of the Constitution confers on every citizen the right to freedom of association, which is likened to the right conferred on a political party.
Arguing that the court was not challenging the legitimacy of the law of constitutional provision under which INEC claimed to have acted, but the process of their deregistration, it proceeded to set aside the June 11, 2020 judgment by Justice Anwuli Chiekere of the Federal High Court, and ordered that the appellants should henceforth be listed as political parties in the country.
The 22 political parties are; Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD), Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP), All Blending Party (ABP), All Grand Alliance Party (AGAP), Alliance of Social Democrats (ASD), Change Advocacy Party (CAP), Democratic People’s Congress (DPC), Green Party of Nigeria (GPN), Masses Movement of Nigeria (MMN) and Mega Party of Nigeria (MPN).
New Generation Party of Nigeria (NGPA), Nigeria For Democracy (NFD), Peoples Coalition Party (PCP), Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), People for Democratic Change (PDC), Young Democratic Party (YDP), Re-Build Nigeria Party (RBNP), Save Nigeria Congress (SNC), Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN), United Democratic Party (UDP), United Patriots (UP) and We The People of Nigeria (WTPN) are the other parties.