Supreme Court okays INEC’s de-registration of 22 political parties.
Written by on March 25, 2022
The Supreme Court has affirmed the decision by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to de-register 22 political parties.
In a judgment on Friday, the apex court upturned an earlier judgment of the Court of Appeal in Abuja, which voided the de-registration on the grounds that INEC failed to accord the parties fair hearing and that the electoral body acted during the pendency of a suit by the parties.
The 22 parties are among the 74 de-registered in 2020 by INEC following their dismal performances in previous elections.
Justice Ejembi Eko, in the lead judgment of the Supreme Court on Friday, held that the Court of Appeal was wrong to have, on its own, raised the issue of lack of fair hearing, without hearing from parties in the case, and reached a conclusion that the 22 were not accorded fair hearing.
Justice Eko noted that the Court of Appeal took out the issue of fair hearing out of the contemplation of the notice of appeal filed by the political parties, but refused to do the needful in order to be fair to others in the case.
He added that the Court of Appeal erred by, raising the issue of fair hearing in favour of the political parties on its own, but failed to give opportunity to other respondents in the case to address it on the matter in order to arrive at a just conclusion.
Justice Eko also added that proceeding to give judgment in such a situation, as done by the Court of Appeal, offended the principle of fair hearing, and as a result, its findings and conclusion were flawed.