Appeal Court reverses INEC’s deregistration of 22 parties

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The Court of Appeal in Abuja has reversed deregistration of 22 political parties by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The 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).

Others are: 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).

Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem who presided over the appeal filed by the 22 political parties who are among the 74 political parties de-registered in February 2020, said that INEC ignored due process in exercising its powers under Section 225(a) of the Constitution (as amended).

The appellate court which averred that not only were the affected political parties already in court before INEC exercised its constitutional powers to de-register a party, but the electoral umpire also failed to inform the parties why they could no longer exist.

The court of appeal held that Section 40 of the Constitution entitles citizens to freedom of association, and as such, the right conferred on a political party cannot be taken away except in accordance with the provisions of the law and due process. INEC was further ordered to relist the 74 parties.