Supreme Court affirms INEC’s deregistration of 74 political parties

The Supreme Court of Nigeria on Friday upheld the powers of the Independent National Electoral Commission (NEC) to deregister political parties. The Supreme Court in a judgment delivered by Justice China Nweze through zoom, affirmed that the deregistration of National Unity Party (NUP), including 73 other political parties by the INEC, was in line with the laws and in compliance with the extant provisions of the Constitution and Electoral Act.

The judge maintained that there is a constitutional provision that spells out the minimum election victory a party must record or percentage of votes it must poll to sustain its status as a registered political party in Nigeria.

Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court had in May upturned the deregistration of NUP and 73 other political parties for being in breach of section 225 (a) of the Nigerian Constitution.

However, the judgement of Justice Taiwo on NUP in May, was contradicted by the judgements of other judges of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on similar matters, who recognized the deregistration of about 40 other political parties included in the action being challenged in court.

The deregistered political parties pursued their suits to the Court of Appeal unto the Supreme Court, demanding the court to upturn their deregistration by INEC. The

INEC deregistered the political parties over their failure to meet the minimum requirements in February 2020.