The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said it would approach the Supreme Court over conflicting judgments by the Court of Appeal on recently deregistered political parties.
The commission disclosed this in a statement issued by, Mr. Festus Okoye, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, in Abuja on Monday.
Okoye confirmed that INEC was in receipt of the judgment of the Court of Appeal delivered on Monday, Aug. 10, 2020, in an Appeal filed by Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD) and 22 others relating to their deregistration by the Commission.
“In the judgment, the Court of Appeal held that the deregistration of ACD and 22 others are ultra vires the powers of the Commission and ordered the Commission to reinstate them.”
Okoye recalled that on July 29, 2020, the Court Appeal, Abuja Judicial Division in an appeal filed by the National Unity Party (NUP) affirmed the power of the Commission (INEC) to deregister political parties that fail to meet the constitutional threshold in section 225A.
He added that dissatisfied with the judgment the National Unity Party lodged an appeal that is presently pending before the Supreme Court.
“The Commission is therefore faced with two conflicting judgments from the Court of Appeal; one affirming the powers of the Commission to deregister political parties and the other set aside the deregistration of ACD and 22 others.
“Faced with two conflicting judgments from the same Court, the Commission is not in a position to pick and choose which one of them to obey.
“Consequently, the Commission will approach the Supreme Court for a final resolution of the issues raised in the two conflicting judgments.”
Okoye noted that meanwhile, the Commission was focused on preparations for the conduct of the Edo and Ondo governorship elections scheduled to hold on Sept. 19, and Oct. 10.
He added that the commission was strictly and methodically following its timetable and schedule of activities derived from the Constitution and the Electoral Act.
“We assure Nigerians and the people of Edo and Ondo States that the Commission is on course and will deliver on its mandate.”
INEC had, on Feb. 6, deregistered 74 political parties for their inability to fulfill requirements for an existence based on Section 225A of the 1999 Constitution (as amended)
It cited that the 1999 Constitution (as amended) vests in INEC, the power to register and regulate activities of political parties.