Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), wielded the big stick on Thursday, deregistering no less than 74 political parties in one fell swoop from contesting further elections in Nigeria.
Chairman of the Commission, Mahmood Yakubu, who announced the deregistration, said he based the decision on the powers vested in the electoral commission to register and regulate the activities of political parties.
He further noted that by the decision, the Commission can only accord recognition to 16 political parties, including Accord Party (A), Action Alliance (AA), African Action Congress (AAC), African Democratic Congress (ADC), African Democratic Party (ADP), All Progressives Congress (APC) and All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).
According to him, others that fulfilled the requirements for existence included Allied People’s Movement (APM), Labour Party (LP), New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), National Rescue Movement (NRM), People’s Democratic Party (PDP), People’s Redemption Party (PRP), Social Democratic Party (SDP), Young Progressive Party (YPP) and Zenith Labour Party (ZLP).
He hinged the reason for the deregistration of the parties on “breach of any of the requirements for registration as a political party. Failure to win at least 25 per cent of the votes cast in one state of the federation in a presidential election or 25 per cent of the votes cast in one local government area of a state in a governorship election.
“Failure to win at least one ward in a chairmanship election, one seat in the National or State Assembly election or one seat in a councillorship election.”
Speaking further at the briefing, Yakubu said: “The purpose of this briefing is to convey to Nigerians the decision of the commission on the status of political parties. Similarly, the commission has fixed the dates for the end-of-tenure governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states as well as bye-elections to fill vacancies in some states of the federation.
“You will recall that prior to the 2019 general election, Nigeria had 91 political parties. One more party was registered by court order after the election, making a total of 92 political parties. The 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) vests in INEC the power to register and regulate the activities of political parties.
“You will also recall that in 2018, the constitution was amended. In addition to the extant provision for the registration of political parties, the Fourth Alteration to the Constitution (Section 225A) empowers the Commission to deregister political parties.
“Prior to the Fourth Alteration, the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) had provided for the deregistration of political parties. Based on this provision, the commission, between 2011 and 2013, deregistered 39 political parties. However, several of the parties challenged the power of INEC to deregister them, particularly on the ground that the Electoral Act is inferior to the constitution and that deregistration infringed their fundamental rights under the same constitution.
“Subsequently, the courts ordered the commission to reinstate the parties. It was for this reason that the National Assembly amended the constitution to empower the commission to deregister political parties on the following grounds:
“In order to implement the provision of the Fourth Alteration to the constitution, the commission carried out an assessment of political parties to determine compliance with the requirements for their registration. Similarly, following the conclusion of the 2019 general elections, including court-ordered re-run elections arising from litigations, the commission was able to determine the performance of political parties in the elections.
“In addition, they were also assessed on the basis of their performance in the area council elections in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) which coincided with the 2019 general election. It should be noted that the FCT is the only part of the country where INEC is empowered by the constitution to conduct local government elections.
“Consequently, the commission has determined that 16 political parties have fulfilled the requirements for existence based on Section 225A of the 1999 Constitution (as amended),
“75 political parties did not satisfy the requirements of the Fourth Alteration to the Constitution. However, one of the political parties, the Action People’s Party (APP), filed a suit in court and obtained an order restraining the commission from deregistering it. Consequently, the party remains registered pending the determination of the case by the court.
“The new political party, Boot Party (BP), registered by the court order after the 2019 general election will also continue to exist.
“Accordingly, 74 political parties are hereby deregistered. With this development, Nigeria now has 18 registered political parties. The list of the parties will be will also be available on our website and social media platforms shortly,” he noted.
The list of the deregistered political parties include; Advanced Allied Party (AAP), All Blending Party (ABP), Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD), Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Alliance for Democracy (AD), All Grassroots Alliance (AGA), All Grand Alliance Party (AGAP), Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP), Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN), Alliance National Party (ANP), Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party (ANRP), African People’s Alliance (APA), Advanced Peoples Democratic Alliance (APDA), Alternative Party of Nigeria (APN), Alliance of Social Democrats (ASD), Alliance for United Nigeria (AUN), Better Nigeria Progressive Party (BNPP), Change Advocacy Party (CAP), Coalition for Change (C4C), Change Nigeria Party (CNP), Congress of Patriots (COP) and Democratic Alternative (DA).
Other deregistered parties are Democratic People’s Congress (DPC), Democratic People’s Party (DPP), Fresh Democratic Party (FRESH), Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), Grassroots Development Party of Nigeria (GDPN), Green Party of Nigeria (GPN), Hope Democratic Party (HDP), Independent Democrats (ID), Justice Must Prevail Party (JMPP), Kowa Party (KP), Liberation Movement (LM), Legacy Party of Nigeria (LPN), Mass Action Joint Alliance (MAJA), Modern Democratic Party (MDP), Masses Movement of Nigeria (MMN), Mega Party of Nigeria (MPN), Movement for the Restoration and Defence of Democracy (MRDD), National Action Council (NAC).
To complete the list include; Nigeria Community Movement Party (NCMP), National Conscience Party (NCP), Nigeria Democratic Congress Party (NDCP), National Democratic Liberty Party (NDLP), Nigeria Elements Progressive Party (NEPP), Nigeria for Democracy (NFD), New Generation Party of Nigeria (NGP), National Interest Party (NIP), Nigeria People’s Congress (NPC), New Progressive Movement (NPM), National Unity Party (NUP), Peoples Coalition Party (PCP), Peoples for Democratic Change (PDC), Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM), Progressive People’s Alliance (PPA), Providence People’s Congress (PPC), Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN), Peoples Progressive Party (PPP), Peoples Trust (PT), Reform and Advancement Party (RAP), Re-Build Nigeria Party (RBNP), Restoration Party of Nigeria (RP), Save Nigeria Congress (SNC), Sustainable National Party (SNP), Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN), United Democratic Party (UDP), United Patriots (UP), United People’s Congress (UPC), United Party of Nigeria (UPN), United Progressive Party (UPP), We the People Nigeria (WTPN), Young Democratic Party (YDP), Yes Electorate Solidarity (YES) and Youth Party (YP).