The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has insisted that none of the 74 parties deregistered last year would participate in the electoral process until the Supreme Court decides otherwise.
It said it would continue to recognise and allow only the 18 registered parties to nominate and contest elections in the country.
The commission, against the backdrop of legal suits filed against it by the 74 political parties, said on Friday, that its decision to strike them out remained intact until the Supreme Court decided otherwise.
“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 code to or accept the list and particulars of candidates emanating from such primaries,” INEC spokesperson, Festus Okoye, said.
The commission in its February 6, 2020 announcement, hinged the cause for deregistration of the 74 parties on their failure to satisfy the requirements of the Fourth Alteration to the Constitutional Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).
”The Commission has determined that eighteen (18) political parties have fulfilled the requirements for an existence based on Section 225A of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) as follows,” the INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, said.
The declaration was challenged in court by followed by some of the affected political parties.
The Court of Appeal, in its June 2020 judgement, dismissed INEC decision and ordered the return of 22 political parties, a decision some of them insist permit them to hold primaries and field candidates in subsequent elections.
However, the commission in the new statement, argued that the verdict of the Court of Appeal in favour of the deregistered parties contradicts its other judgement “delivered in the case of National Unity Party (NUP) vs. INEC wherein the Court affirmed the powers of the Commission to deregister NUP and other political parties.”
Considering the conflict between the two judgements, the INEC further argued 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.”