By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of misleading the public over the judgment of the Supreme Court on Friday, which upheld the deregistration of National Unity Party (NUP).
In a statement issued yesterday by the Chairman, Contact and Mobilization, and member, Steering Committee of CUPP, Olusegun Peters and National Secretary, Steering Committee of CUPP, Peter Ameh, the coalition said the judgment has no effect whatsoever in the matter of 22 political parties pending at the Supreme Court and other parties at various stages of litigation.
The statement said “CUPP is alarmed that INEC would condescend so low in sponsoring and spreading fake news that the Supreme Court has upheld its deregistration of 74 political parties on 6th February 2020, conscious of the fact that only one political party, (NUP), appeal was determined by the apex court. NUP had approached the Federal High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court seeking to know if INEC has power to deregister political parties which the courts affirmed.
“The courts decisions on NUP from high court to apex court bind only NUP based on its prayer before the courts.
“The judgment does not in any way bind the 22 political parties which got victory at the Court of Appeal as they are not parties before the Supreme Court in NUP’s case and their prayers before the courts are also different”.
It said “On 10th August 2020, the Court of Appeal in Appeal No. CA/ABJ/CV/507/2020, between Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD) & 21 others and Attorney General of the Federation & INEC ruled that the deregistration of the 22 political parties was unconstitutional and ordered INEC to relist them as registered political parties.
“The court also distinguished the matter from NUP’s case declaring that NUP remained deregistered. Instead of obeying a clear order of court, the commission said it would wait until the apex court determined the two appeals before it to know which one to obey.
“The NUP’s appeal was decided on 7th May 2021, remaining the INEC appeal in favour of 22 parties it arbitrarily deregistered. The case of the 22 political parties bothers on fair hearing and flagrant violation of due process and the rule of law in deregistering the affected parties, and not whether INEC has the power to deregister parties as in the case of NUP.
“It is pertinent to know that the 22 parties were already in court with INEC challenging the commission’s arbitrary process of deregistering political parties without following due process, the court gave an order restraining the commission from deregistering them pending the determination of the issue before it.”