Supreme Court upholds INEC’s de-registration of 22 political parties
The Supreme Court has upheld the de-registration of 22 political parties carried out by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The parties were among 74 others scrapped by INEC in 2020 following their poor performance in previous general elections.
Justice Ejembi Eko on Friday set aside a judgment of the Court of Appeal, Abuja division which had nullified the de-registration of the political parties.
He was delivering judgment in an appeal instituted by INEC against the judgment of the Court of Appeal.
Justice Eko held that the Court Appeal on its own raised the issue of lack of fair hearing in favour of the 22 scrapped parties and arrived at a conclusion without hearing from other parties in the matter.
He, therefore, upheld the appeal by the electoral umpired as being meritorious and allowed.
The apex court held that the Court of Appeal took the issue of fair hearing out of the contemplations of the notice of appeal filed by the political parties, but refused to do the needful in order to be fair to others in the matter.
Specifically, the Supreme Court said that the Court of Appeal erred in law by raising the issue of fair hearing in favour of the political parties and declined to give an opportunity to other respondents to address it on the matter, in order to arrive at a just conclusion.
Justice Eko said that proceeding to give judgment in such a situation, as done by the Court of Appeal, ran afoul of the pillar of the same fair hearing and as such, its findings and conclusion could stand.
INEC had on February 6, 2020, de-registered 74 political parties for failing to win any political office in the last general elections held in 2019.
The Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD) and 21 other parties had later filed a suit at the Federal High Court in Abuja to challenge their deregistration by the electoral umpire.