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Abuja federal high court affirms INEC has the power to deregister political parties

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A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, Friday, reaffirmed the powers of the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) to deregister political parties.

Justice Taiwo Taiwo made the disclosure while delivering judgment in a suit filed by Hope Democratic Party against the electoral commission.

He insisted that INEC was empowered by the Constitution to deregister parties that failed to meet the provisions of Section 225(a).

The HDP had filed the suit, asking the court to declare that INEC cannot deregister it as a political party except in accordance with the law.

It also prayed the court for an order mandating the electoral body to relist it as a political party in the country.

But Justice Taiwo held that HDP fell short of Section 225(a) and also had nothing to show to the court that the action of INEC to deregister it as a political party was unlawful.

In a judgment delivered in the suit filed by another political group – the National Unity Party, the judge had affirmed the constitutional power of the electoral commission.

He had also held that the reasons given by the commission for the deregistration of parties were valid, in conformity with the law, and sacrosanct.

Justice Taiwo had stated that such reasons could not be affected by the fact of anticipated local government elections by some states which dates were not fixed, certain, or even ascertainable.

The National Unity Party is also one of the 74 parties deregistered by the INEC in February.

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