By Kunle Olasanmi, Abuja
The Supreme Court has affirmed the judgement of the Court of Appeal, which okayed the deregistration of National Unity Party (NUP) and others.
INEC had last year deregistered the parties over failures to win any election during the 2019 general election.
In the judgement, delivered by Justice China Nweze, the apex court said the deregistration of NUP, one of the 74 parties, was done in line with the laws and in compliance with the extant provisions of the Constitution and Electoral Act.
With the judgement, the fate of the 74 political parties deregistered by INEC have been sealed.
In the appeal before the apex court, NUP challenged their deregistration by INEC at the Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal.
The Abuja Division of the Appeal Court had on July 29, 2020, affirmed the powers of the National Independent National Electoral Commission to deregister political parties.
Delivering the lead judgment of a panel of the court, Justice Mohammed Idris, held that INEC did not err in law in the deregistration of the National Unity Party, which filed the appeal.
The court upheld the judgment of Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja which had earlier in May cancelled the deregistration of NUP and 73 other political parties for being in breach of section 225(a)of the Nigeria Constitution.
The said constitutional provision spells out the minimum election victory a party must record or percentage of votes it must poll to sustain its status as a registered political party.
INEC, in deregistering the affected 74 political parties in February stated that they failed to meet the minimum requirement.
Reacting to the judgment, the President of the Inter Party Advisory Council Dr. Leonard Nzenwa hailed the judgment and said the judgment had ended all speculations and this will aid INEC to now focus on critical issues in preparation for delivering credible, free and fair 2023 general election.
After Justice Taiwo’s judgment on NUP in May, other judges of the Federal High Court in Abuja, have upheld the deregistration of almost 40 other affected parties.