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2019: Intending Political Parties Tackle INEC Over Registration

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The declaration by the Independent National Electoral Commission Chairman (INEC) that political parties registered six months to the 2019 general elections would not be allowed to participate in the elections, has triggered legal fireworks among the country’s political class.

Following the release of guidelines for the 2019 general elections by the commission, over 40 new political parties which are yet to be issued with certificates of registration, have resorted to legal actions.

The United People’s Congress, UPC, one of the new political associations waiting to be duly recognised as a party, on Thursday, dragged INEC before the Federal High Court siting in Abuja, seeking an order to compel release of its certificate of registration.

The party is also seeking an ex-parte order to be declared as a duly registered political party, having fulfilled all necessary conditions as stipulated by the law.

At the same time, the motion ex-parte is seeking the court to declare that UPC can participate in all stages of the 2019 general election, pending the formal issuance of the certificate by the commission.

National chairman of the party, Dr Kenneth Ibe-kalu, who deposed to an affidavit of urgency in support of the motion ex-parte, noted that his party applied for registration in February 2018.

He also stated in the affidavit that UPC paid the required amount of N1 million for the registration, adding that INEC received and certified necessary documents on the May 5, 2018. Ibe-kalu however, expressed worry that INEC released the 2019 general election guidelines, while aspirants hoping to contest election with the party’s platform are apprehensive of their fate.

According to the court process, Section 78 (4) of the 2010 Electoral Act (as amended) provides that a political association that meets the conditions stipulated in the Constitution and the Act shall be registered by INEC as a political party, within 30 days from the date of receipt of the application, and therefore, if after 30 days, such association is not registered by the commission, unless the commission informs the association to the contrary, it shall be deemed to have been registered.

Responding, INEC said that it is not aware of the suit filed against it by some associations seeking to be registered as political parties.

INEC spokesman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, who said there are standards associations must meet to be registered as a political party, said he is yet to receive information from the legal department about the lawsuit.

“We are yet to receive information concerning the lawsuit. As you all know there are standards associations must meet before they are registered as political parties,” Oyekanmi said.


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