On Thursday 6th February 2020, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) deregistered 74 political parties on the grounds that they did not meet requirements for party registration.
INEC chief, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, who released names of the deregistered political parties at a press conference in Abuja, also said 18 parties made the list of registered parties in the country.
The deregistered political parties, reacted angrily to INEC’s decision, said it was subjudice, saying they would take legal action against the commission.
The deregistered parties include the following, the full list will be listed below, and they are:
- National Conscience Party, which was established by the late human rights lawyer, Gani Fawehinmi, SAN.
- Kowa Party
- United Peoples Party
- Pastor Chris Okotie’s Fresh Democratic Party
- Peoples Trust, whose presidential candidate was Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim
- Advanced Allied Party
- Blending Party
- Advanced Congress of Democrats
- Allied Congress Party of Nigeria
- Alliance for Democracy
- All Grassroots Alliance
- All Grand Alliance Party
- Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party
- Alliance For New Nigeria
- Alliance National Party
- Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party
- African Peoples Alliance
- Advanced Peoples Democratic Alliance
- Alternative Party of Nigeria
- Alliance of Social Democrats etc…
According to INEC, 18 successful parties scaled through, they are:
- Accord Party
- Action Alliance
- Omoyele Sowore’s African Action Congress
- African Democratic Congress,
- All Progressives Congress
- All Progressive Grand Alliance
- Allied Peoples Movement
- Labour Party
- New Nigeria Peoples Party
- National Rescue Movement
- Peoples Democratic Party
- Peoples Redemption Party
- Social Democratic Party
- Young Progressives Party
- Zenith Labour Party
According to Yakubu, at the press conference meeting, he said that the commission had fixed dates for the governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states for September 19 and October 10 respectively.
He explained that the Boot Party registered after 2019 general elections would continue to exist.
Yakubu said the commission deregistered the 74 political parties because they breached requirements for party registration.
One of the breaches given by him was the 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 governorship election.
Another reason was the failure to win at least one ward in a chairmanship election, one seat in the National Assembly or state houses of assembly elections or one seat in a councillorship election.
While explaining that 75 parties did not satisfy the requirements, he said that one of the parties went to court, saying its fate would be determined by the judiciary.
According to Yakubu, Nigeria now have 18 registered political parties as the Booth Party registered after the 2019 election would continue to exist.
Also quoted by him, he said “In order to implement the provision of the Fourth 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-runs arising from litigation, 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 which coincided with the 2019 general elections. It should be noted that the FCT is the only part of the country where INEC is empowered by the constitution to conduct LG elections.
“Consequently, the commission has determined that 18 political parties have fulfilled the requirements for existence based on Section 225A of the 1999 constitution (as amended).
“Seventy-five political parties did not satisfy the requirements of the Fourth Alteration to the Constitution. However, one of the political parties, the Action Peoples Party, filed a suit and obtained an order restraining the commission from deregistering it. Consequently, the party remains registered pending the determination of the case by the court.
Nigeria has 18 political parties – INEC chair
“The new political party, Boot Party, registered by court order after the 2019 general elections will also continue to exist. Accordingly, 74 political parties are hereby deregistered. With this development, Nigeria now has 18 registered political parties. The list of the parties will be shared and will also be available on our website and social media platforms.”
He also spoke on the governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states with a warning that stakeholders should embrace peace.
Yakubu said, “The tenure of the governors of Edo and Ondo states will end on November 12, 2020 and February 24, 2021 respectively. Pursuant to the provisions of Section 178(2) of the 1999 constitution and Section 25(8) of the Electoral Act 2010, elections cannot hold earlier than 150 days and not later than 30 days before the expiration of the term of office of an incumbent governor.
Dates for Elections in Edo and Ondo
“According to the commission, Saturday September 19, 2020 has been fixed as the date for the governorship election in Edo State and Saturday October 10, 2020 for Ondo State.”
He also said by-elections for vacant seats in Kwara, Niger and Kebbi state houses of assembly would be conducted on March 14.
Yakubu reiterated the resolve of INEC to stand firm against acts capable of disrupting the elections.
He warned politicians against snatching of election materials and other forms of violence during elections.
Meanwhile, INEC’s decision to deregister 74 political parties attracted divergent reactions on Thursday.
Some of the deregistered political parties, in separate interviews vowed to challenge the commission in court.
Injustice and Impunity – Fasua
The National Chairman of the Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party, Tope Fasua, stated, “As much as INEC is used to being sued and now I believe it is all a big joke, we shall explore the legal option no matter how feeble it may seem. We shall do that, jointly and severally. This is sheer injustice, impunity, reckless, and a stab in the heart of honest young and not-so-young Nigerians who are tired of playing third class citizens in their own country, watching by the sidelines and arguing away on social media as their country pines away”.
He also continued, as quoted, “They have done nothing wrong by investing their sweat, tears and blood in their own beloved nation. Sacrifice to motherland can never be outlawed. And a people cannot be corralled by force into joining egbekegbe (bad parties) that they are not desirous of belonging to.”
Quotes by the UPP National Chairman
UPP National Chairman, Chewas Okorie also said the party would meet over INEC’s decision.
According to him, he stated “We are waiting for their (INEC) letter to come so that we will convene our national leadership crisis meeting immediately to take a decision whether to challenge it,”
Quotes by the Acting National Chairman of Kowa Party
The acting National Chairman of Kowa Party, Mark Adebayo, when interviewed, said, “What INEC has done is to tell Nigerians that if you don’t have enough means for vote- buying and you cannot compromise the electoral process, you cannot survive within the political environment of Nigeria.”
We will challenge it in court – NCP chair
The National Chairman of NCP, Yunusa Tanko, also said the party would challenge INEC in court.
As stated by him, “We will challenge this decision in the court of law. It is totally unacceptable to us, it is simply a way of strangulating the voice of the people and it denies Nigerians the opportunity to run for elections on any platform they deem fit and it negates the principle of democracy anywhere in the world.”
Our de-registration, affront to judiciary – UPP
Chukwudi Ezeobika, the National Chairman of the United Patriots, described the decision of INEC to de-register the party as an affront to the judiciary.
Ezeobika, said there was a case pending in court on the issue of de-registration of political parties.
He expressed surprise that despite being aware that the court had a date fixed for the ruling on the matter, INEC still went ahead to de-register 74 political parties.
It is sub judice for INEC to de-register parties – MAJA
The National Chairman of the Mass Action Joint Alliance Party, Chief Chika Ibeneme, said INEC had no right to deregister the political party.
According to him, Inter Party Advisory Council, the umbrella organization of registered political parties, has taken INEC to court on the issue, he stated that it was sub judice for INEC to de-register the political parties.
Reactions by other affected Parties
The National Chairman of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria, Alhaji Ganiyu Galadima, described the party’s deregistration as a rude shock.
The National Publicity Secretary of the Action Democratic Party, Adelaja Adeoye, called on members of the de-registered parties to join the ADP.
A group, the Centre for Transparency Advocacy said it welcomed the decision of INEC, describing it as a bold step.
The Executive Director of CTA, Faith Nwadishi, in a statement in Abuja, advised those whose parties were deregistered to join the 18 successful ones.
INEC backed by Yusuf Ali
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Yusuf Ali (SAN), said that INEC had the right to deregister political parties.
Ali also said, “INEC has the power because there are thresholds set for political parties after general elections, which they must meet to remain as political parties. Once you do not meet the thresholds, your party is gone.”
“We have too many parties. I see it as an abuse of democratic space to have over 90 political parties on the ballot paper, when we know that functionally, there are about three viable parties in the country. None of the political parties is based on ideology.”
This is not legal – Adegboruwa
Another SAN, Mr Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa , described the deregistration of the 74 political parties as not legal.
Adegboruwa said, “I believe that there is no power in the Independent National Electoral Commission to deregister parties, once registered. Under the freedom of association, in the constitution, once that registration has been done, it is not conditional upon winning or losing election. That Section 40 of the Constitution has been tested by (the late) Chief Gani Fewehinmi up to the Supreme Court, when the party of Balarabe Musa was deregistered by INEC.”
He said INEC could not rely on the Electoral Act to deregister any political party.
But the Buhari Media Organization supported INEC’s action, saying it would sanitize the electoral process.
Niyi Akinsiju, chairman of BMO, said the reduction of the political parties to 18 had both cost and management implications for INEC.