Again, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has affirmed that none of the 74 parties deregistered last year would participate in the electoral process until the Supreme Court decides otherwise.
The electoral umpire said on Friday that it would continue to recognise and allow only the 18 registered parties to nominate and contest elections in the country.
The commission, against the backdrop of legal suits filed against it by the 74 political parties, said that its decision to strike them out remained intact until the Supreme Court decided otherwise.
INEC spokesperson, Festus Okoye, said, “The Commission will continue to recognise and deal with only the 18 registered political parties pending the final resolution and determination of the various appeals filed and pending before the Supreme Court.
“Consequently, INEC will not monitor any purported primaries by any of the deregistered political parties and will not issue access code to or accept the list and particulars of candidates emanating from such primaries.”
The commission in its February 6, 2020 announcement attributed the cause for deregistration of the 74 parties on their failure to satisfy the requirements of the Fourth Alteration to the Constitutional Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).
INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, said, “The Commission has determined that eighteen (18) political parties have fulfilled the requirements for an existence based on Section 225A of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) as follows.”
The announcement was challenged in court by some of the affected political parties.
The Court of Appeal, in its June 2020 judgement, dismissed INEC decision and ordered the return of 22 political parties; a decision some of them insist permit them to hold primaries and field candidates in subsequent elections.
However, the commission in the new statement, argued that the verdict of the Court of Appeal in favour of the deregistered parties contradicts its other judgement “delivered in the case of National Unity Party (NUP) vs. INEC wherein the Court affirmed the powers of the Commission to deregister NUP and other political parties.”
Considering the conflict between the two judgements, the INEC further argued that “it is in the interest of the electoral process for both matters to be consolidated. The electoral process will be better served through a final resolution of the issues in the deregistration of political parties. It will also enable the commission to stand on firm grounds rather than pick and choose which between two conflicting decisions it should obey.”