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Supreme Court upholds INEC’s de-registration of 22 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 the 74 scrapped in 2020 by INEC following their dismal performances in the previous elections.

Delivering judgment in an appeal instituted by INEC against the judgment of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ejembi Eko voided and set aside a judgment of the Court of Appeal, Abuja division which had nullified the de-registration.

Justice Eko held that the Court of 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.

Specifically, the Supreme Court said the lower court 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 proceeding to give judgment in such a situation, as done by the Court of Appeal, ran foul of the pillar of the same fair hearing and as such, its findings and conclusion cannot stand.

INEC had in February 2020 de-registered 74 political parties for failing to win any political office in the last general election.

Reporting by Ifeoma Nwovu; Editing by Omotola Oguneye