The Court of Appeal in Abuja has set aside the judgement of the Federal High Court which upheld de-registration of political parties by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
In the judgement by a four-member panel of justices of read by Justice Sodipe Lokulo, the appellate court held that the de-registration did not follow due process, and was therefore illegal.
The court held that INEC’s action violated Section 225(A) of the Nigerian Constitution, 1999.
INEC had cited the failure of the political parties to win at least 25 percent of votes cast at least in one state of federation as the major reason for de-registration.
But the court held that Section 40 of the Nigerian Constitution confers on citizens the freedom of association, and as such the right of a political party cannot be taken away except by due process, adding that the political parties are challenging the process of their de-registration, not the act.
The appellate court therefore ordered the Advanced Congress of Democrats being one of the 74 political parties, which were on February 6 de-registered as political parties, be listed as one of the political parties in Nigeria.