INEC constitutionally right to delist parties – Don

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A former Dean of the Faculty of Law at the Imo State University, Owerri, Prof Nnamdi Obiaraeri, has said the Independent National Electoral Commission did not breach the constitution in deregistering the 74 political parties.

Obiaraeri, a former commissioner for information in Imo State, said on Friday that the constitution empowered INEC to deregister non-viable political parties.

He said, “Expressly, section 225(A) of the 1999 Constitution as amended (introduced by the Fourth Alteration to the Constitution) empowers INEC to deregister political parties on any of the following seven grounds;

“Breach of any of the requirements for registration as a political party. Failure to win at least 25% of the votes cast in one State of the Federation in a Presidential election.

“Failure to win at least 25% of the votes cast in one Local Government Area of a State in a Governorship election. Failure to win at least one ward in a Chairmanship election.Failure to win at least one seat in the National Assembly election.

“Failure to win at least one seat in the State Assembly election or Failure to win at least one seat in a Councillorship election.”

He continued “any political party that cannot satisfy at least one of these seven conditions has no business occupying our democratic space. Political parties are not cottage industries that can mushroom anyhow without legal regulation in Nigeria.

“The Nigerian Constitution regulates the procedure for the formation, powers and functions of political parties including their deregistration as already demonstrated.

“The same 1999 Constitution as amended makes it impossible for independent candidacy. The jurisprudence has further emerged through judicial decisions that votes in an election belong to political parties.

“Only INEC registered political parties can sponsor candidates and or canvass for votes in an election.

“It is expected that INEC deregistering of constitutionally non-viable political parties will reduce the embarrassing incidences of missing logos or unlawful exclusion of political parties from the ballot experienced in past general elections because of the unwieldy number of political parties participating in the said elections.

“At least, the pruning down of the number of registered political parties will ensure that going forward, ballot papers will not be riddled with information overload.

“The ballot papers used in the concluded 2019 general election is a bundle of confusion for the voter because of the legion of political parties on it some of which have strikingly similar logos, names or acronyms.”

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