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Court nullifies INEC de-registration of HDP

Delivering judgment yesterday, Justice Ademola Adeniyi held that though INEC has the powers to de-register political parties as provided in section 78 (7) of the…

Delivering judgment yesterday, Justice Ademola Adeniyi held that though INEC has the powers to de-register political parties as provided in section 78 (7) of the Electoral Act, 2011, it must be done in compliance with section 36 of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria which grants fair hearing to parties.   
The judge noted that the failure of INEC to show that HDP was given opportunity to prove that it complies with the conditions which entitles it to remain a political party in Nigeria as provided by the electoral law was a grave error on its part.
“I make an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants, their agents, servants and or privies …from further acts, publication or pronouncements obstructions, de-registering, delisting and or interfering with the operations and activities of the plaintiff as duly registered political parties in Nigeria as provided by the constitution of Nigeria,” he said.
Following a press release and a letter of December 8 and 12 of 2012 by INEC announcing the de-registration of 28 political parties, HDP’s chairman Ambrose Owuru on December 18, 2012 went to court to challenge the action.
He contended that INEC acted beyond its powers by banning free associations and political party registrations contrary to sections 1 (3), 40, 222, 228 and 229 of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria, adding that the action is illegal, null and void.
But INEC in its defence stated that the applicant lacks the locus standi to institute the action maintaining that HDP did not disclose any reasonable cause of action.
Meanwhile, the judge has ordered that the order of the court must be complied with as provided in section 273 (3) of the 1999 Constitution and warned against “selective obedience of court orders.”

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