Why INEC deregistered 74 political parties – Chairman

INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Thursday said it  deregistered 74 political parties because amendment to the 1999 constitution by the National Assembly has empowered it to do so.

INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu. told journalists at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja that the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) vests in INEC the power to register and regulate activities of political parties.

He added that the parties were deregistered for failure to satisfy the requirements of the Fourth Alteration to the 1999 Constitution.

This according to him includes,  breach of any of the requirements for registration as a political party or failure to win at least 25 per cent of the votes cast in one state of the federation in a presidential election or 25 per cent of the votes cast in one local government area of a state in a state election.(NAN)

The INEC boss recalled that in 2018, the constitution was amended, noting that in addition to the extant provision for the registration of political parties, the Fourth Alteration to the Constitution (Section 225A) empowered INEC to deregister political parties.

Yakubu said that  to implement the provision of the alteration to the constitution, the commission carried out an assessment of political parties to determine compliance with the requirements for their registration.

“Similarly, following the conclusion of the 2019 general elections, including court-ordered re-run elections arising from litigations, the commission was able to determine the performance of political parties in the elections.

“In addition, they were also assessed on the basis of their performance in the area council elections in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) which coincided with the 2019 general election.

“It should be noted that the FCT is the only part of the country where INEC is empowered by the constitution to conduct local government elections,’’ Yakubu said.

He said that the commission determined that 16 political parties fulfilled the requirements for existence based on Section 225A of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), while 75 parties did not satisfy the requirements of the fourth alteration to the constitution.

“However, one of the political parties, the Action Peoples Party (APP) filed a suit in court and obtained an order restraining the commission from deregistering it.

“The party remains registered pending the determination of the case by the court.

“The new political party, Boot Party (BP) registered by court order after the 2019 general election will also continue to exist.

“Accordingly, 74 political parties are hereby deregistered. With this development, Nigeria now has 18 registered political parties,” Yakubu said.

The 16 parties that scaled through are Accord Party (A), Action Alliance (AA) African Action Congress (AAC), African Democratic Congress (ADC), African Democratic Party (ADP), All Progressives Congress (APC), All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and Allied Peoples Movement (APM).

Other parties which also met the requirement were Labour Party (LP), New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), National Rescue Movement (NRM), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), Social Democratic Party (SDP), Young Progressive Party (YPP) and Zenith Labour Party (ZLP).

The deregistered parties are Advanced Allied Party (AAP), All Blending Party (ABP) Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD), Allied Congress Party Of Nigeria (ACPN), Alliance for Democracy (AD), Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party(ANDP), and Alliance For New Nigeria (ANN).

Also deregistered are Alliance National Party (ANP), Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party (ANRP), African Peoples Alliance (APA), Better Nigeria Progressive Party (BNPP),  Fresh Democratic Party (FRESH), Hope Democratic Party (HDP), Nigeria Community Movement Party (NCMP).

Others include National Unity Party (NUP), Peoples Coalition Party (PCP), Peoples For Democratic Change (PDC), Peoples Trust (PT), Reform and Advancement Party (RAP), United Democratic Party (UDP), Unity Party Of Nigeria (UPN) and United Progressive Party (UPP).

Yakubu recalled that based on this provision, the commission, between 2011 and 2013, deregistered 39 political parties.

“However, several of the parties challenged the power of INEC to deregister them, particularly on the grounds that the Electoral Act is inferior to the constitution and that deregistration infringed their fundamental rights under the same constitution.

“Subsequently, the courts ordered the commission to reinstate the parties.