A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Femi Falana, said the
Nigerian constitution empowers the Independent
National Electoral Commission to deregister political
parties under certain conditions.
He, however, said the deregistration of 74 out of the
existing 102 political parties by INEC on Thursday,
February 6, 2020 was premature.
Clearly stating that Ninety-one political parties
participated in the 2019 general elections, with 73 of
them fielding presidential candidates. Many held the view
that having over a hundred political parties makes the
conduct of elections unwieldy.
INEC, presumably on this account, announced the
deregistration of 74 out the political parties, leaving only
28, which some of the affected political parties have
vowed to challenge their deregistration in court,
contending that it was illegal.
Falana added that INEC had the constitutional power to
deregister political parties pointing out Section 225A of
the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999
(with the First, Second, Third and Fourth Alterations),
which empowered INEC to deregister political parties for
various reasons, but the decision to delist 74 parties on
Thursday, February 6, 2020 was premature.
He further said in deregistering the 74 political parties,
INEC has relied on the Constitution of the Federal
Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Fourth Alteration, No 9) Act,
2017 enacted on May 4, 2017, which amended section
222 of the 1999 Constitution. The amendment empowers
INEC to de-register political parties that fail to win any
seat in local and national elections.
INEC must go the whole hog by complying with section
222 of the Constitution which states that political parties
that fail to render accounts of their detailed annual
statement and analysis of their sources of funds and
other assets with similar statements of expenditure as
INEC must apply the law with equal force to the
remaining political parties.
Falana, concluded by saying Local Governments
elections have not been held in 13 states, which means
some of the political parties may still win LG elections
which makes the law not ripe for implementation.
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