The Independent National Electoral Commission, on Friday, said it would continue to recognise only 18 political parties, pending the final resolution and determination of the various appeals filed before the Supreme Court.
INEC National Commissioner and Chairman (Information and Voter Education Committee), Festus Okoye, in a statement, called on political parties to strictly adhere to the provisions of their constitutions on internal party administration and nomination of candidates for elections.
In the statement titled ‘The commission will continue to recognise and deal with only 18 political parties,’ Okoye said, “INEC once again counsels the 74 deregistered political parties to await the judgment of the Supreme Court on appeals relating to the powers of the commission to deregister political parties in accordance with Section 225A of the constitution.
“The commission is always ready to obey court orders and will abide by any judgment delivered by the Supreme Court.”
According to Okoye, the clarification became necessary, given that some of the deregistered political parties wrote letters to INEC signifying their intentions to conduct primaries with a view to submitting names and particulars of candidates for the Anambra governorship election.
He said, “The deregistered parties hinge their request to nominate candidates on the judgment of the Court of Appeal delivered on June 11, 2020.
“The commission will continue to recognise and deal with only the 18 registered political parties, pending the final resolution and determination of the various appeals filed and pending before the Supreme Court.
“Consequently, INEC will not monitor any purported primaries by any of the deregistered political parties and will not issue access codes to or accept the list and particulars of candidates emanating from such primaries.”
Okoye recalled that, on August 10, 2020, the commission issued a statement affirming that the judgment of the Court of Appeal delivered in favour of the 22 deregistered political parties was in conflict with the judgment delivered by the same court in the case of National Unity Party vs. INEC, wherein the court affirmed the powers of the commission to deregister NUP and other political parties.
Has noted that the NUP had appealed the said judgment at the Supreme Court of Nigeria, where the case is still pending.
The INEC commissioner said the appeal, as well as the one filed by INEC against the judgment of the Court of Appeal relating to the 22 deregistered parties, were pending at the Supreme Court.
The statement read further, “Considering the conflict between the two judgments, the commission counselled that ‘it is in the interest of the electoral process for both matters to be consolidated.
“The electoral process will be better served through a final resolution of the issues in the deregistration of political parties. It will also enable the commission to stand on firm grounds, rather than pick and choose which between two conflicting decisions it should obey.’”