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Mixed reactions over de-registration of political parties by INEC

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NIGERIANS have expressed mixed reactions over the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to delist some political parties ahead of the 2023 general election. 

INEC yesterday announced the de-registration of 74 parties, leaving only 18 parties to contest in the election.

The chairman of the Commission, Mahmood Yakubu said the action was due to the unsatisfying requirement by the affected parties.

One of the affected parties, the Inter-Party Advisory Council Nigeria (IPAC) had demanded an immediate reversal of the action, stating that it was taken without observing due process and provisions of the law.

IPAC said 33 political parties who were members of the council had earlier filed a suit at the Federal High Court with number FHC/ABJ/CS/444/2019, seeking an order restraining INEC from delisting political parties pending the final ruling.

The council said upon the hearing for an interlocutory injunction on January 23, 2020, the case has been adjourned for ruling on February 17, 2020.

“It is, however, reprehensible on the part of INEC to take such decision which is an affront on the judiciary, an abuse of the court process and a conscious disregard for the rule of law.

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“By the action purportedly taken by INEC, the council is of a firm view that INEC as an institution no longer has regards or respect for the rule of law in Nigeria and has lost the confidence of political parties in the political affairs of the nation,” IPAC said.

Conversely, a former commissioner for information in Imo State, Nnamdi Obiaraeri expressed support over the development stating that section 225(A) of the1999 constitution as amended (introduced by the Fourth Alteration to the constitution) authorised INEC to delist non-viable political parties.

According to him, failure to win at least 25 per cent of the votes cast in one state of the federation in a presidential election, Local Government Area(LGA) of a State in a governorship election etcetera, infringes the registration of political parties.

“Any political party that cannot satisfy at least one of these seven conditions has no business occupying our democratic space. Political parties are not cottage industries that can mushroom anyhow without legal regulation in Nigeria.

However, the Action People’s Party (APP) had lamented that the commission had failed to give prior information to the party on the action.

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