The Inter-Party Advisory Council of Nigeria (IPAC) reacted to the expulsion of 74 political parties by the Independent National Election Commission (INEC).
IPAC, in a statement signed on Thursday by its national legal advisor, Mr. Ezeobika Chukwudi, in Abuja, called on INEC to immediately reverse its decision to strike out.
Chukwudi stressed that the INEC decision was an indignity towards the judiciary and a conscious disregard for the rule of law.
He said INEC should have waited for elections in Nigeria’s 774 LGAs and 8809 electoral districts, after the 4th Constitution was signed on June 4, 2018, before assuming that a party did not ‘had won no elective office and go ahead with his decision.
The statement reads as follows: “The IPAC is aware of an action before the Federal High Court by 33 political parties, which are members of the Council in issue FHC / ABJ / CS / 444/2019 filed with the Federal High Court of Abuja, requesting inter alia, an order prohibiting the INEC from withdrawing the registration of the political parties concerned pending the determination of the prosecution.
“The Federal High Court, after hearing the motion for an interlocutory injunction on January 23, 2020, postponed its decision on February 17, 2020.
“However, it is reprehensible on the part of INEC to take such a decision, which is an affront to the judiciary, an abuse of the judicial process and a conscious disregard for the rule of law.
“IPAC notes that the sneaky INEC shows that the commission as an institution has not lost the confidence of political parties in the political affairs of the nation.
“The Council hereby invites INEC to immediately annul the alleged decision in order not to infringe the rights of political parties guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended). By the provisions of articles 221 to 229, no the offer is lower or higher than the other. “
Chukwudi stated that section 229 defines a political party to include an association whose activities include soliciting votes for a candidate for election to a local board of directors.
“However, it is imperative to state that we, as individuals or government agencies, must be careful not to impose a fait accompli on the Court.
“It is important to emphasize again that 33 political parties, which are members of the Council, have applied to Court 3, to the Federal High Court of Abuja, for an interlocutory injunction order prohibiting INEC to strike off the political parties concerned, pending the decision of the prosecution.
“The court postponed its decision on February 17, 2020, but the INEC proceeded in error to impose a state of helplessness on the court.
“This is an affront to the judiciary and must be discouraged.
The Council also urged INEC to immediately reverse this action. “