• * Says INEC's Appeal Against 22 Political Parties Still Pending At The Supreme Court

By Celestine Okafor (Editor-in-Chief) @CeleOkaf11

The Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) has warned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to stop misleading the public over the judgment of the Supreme Court on Friday 7th May 2021, which upheld the de-registration of the National Unity Party (NUP), saying that the judgment has no effect whatsoever in the matter of 22 political parties still pending at the Supreme Court and other parties at various stages of litigation.

CUPP said it was alarming "that INEC would condescend so low in sponsoring and spreading fake news that the Supreme Court has upheld its de-registration of 74 political parties on the 6th February 2020, conscious of the fact that only one political party, (NUP), the appeal was determined by the apex court.

NUP had approached the Federal High Court, Court of Appeal, and Supreme Court seeking to know if INEC has the power to de-register political parties which the courts affirmed. The court's decisions on NUP from the high court to apex court bind only NUP based on its prayer before the courts.

CUPP however said that "The judgment does not in any way bind the 22 political parties which got a victory at the Court of Appeal as they are not parties before the Supreme Court in NUP's case and their prayers before the courts are also different.

"On 10th August 2020, the Court of Appeal in Appeal No. CA/ABJ/CV/507/2020, between Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD) & 21 others and Attorney General of the Federation & INEC ruled that the de-registration of the 22 political parties was unconstitutional and ordered INEC to relist them as registered political parties.

"The court also distinguished the matter from NUP's case declaring that NUP remained deregistered. Instead of obeying a clear order of the court, the commission said it would wait until the apex court determined the two appeals before it to know which one to obey.

"The NUP's appeal was decided on 7th May 2021, remaining the INEC appeal in favor of 22 parties it arbitrarily deregistered. The case of the 22 political parties bothers on fair hearing and flagrant violation of due process and the rule of law in deregistering the affected parties, and not whether INEC has the power to deregister parties as in the case of NUP.

"It is pertinent to know that the 22 parties were already in court with INEC challenging the commission's arbitrary process of de-registering political parties without following due process, the court gave an order restraining the commission from de-registering them pending the determination of the issue before it.

"It was during the pendency of the matter and the court order that INEC deregistered 74 political parties. However, on 10th August 2020, the appellate court nullified the purported deregistration of the 22 political parties and ordered the commission to relist.

"It is obvious that the two appeals are not the same, therefore, the fate of NUP does not bind on the 22 parties and others at various stages of litigation".

A joint statement at the weekend by the CUPP's Chairman, Contact and Mobilization, and member, Steering Committee, Rev. Olusegun Peters and National Secretary, High Chief Peter Ameh, said the group "expresses confidence in the Judiciary as the last hope of all oppressed people in Nigeria and believes justice will prevail in the matter before it.

"CUPP also warns INEC to stop killing the voice of opposition in Nigeria and suffocating the political space which is detrimental in our quest for liberal democracy, social justice, and equity. The coalition will resist any attempt to undermine our hard-earned democracy", the statement said. NNL.

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