7 December 2012

Nigeria: De-Registration of Political Parties Is a Contempt of Court - Tanko

Photo: Vanguard
INEC issuing election notice.

A cross section of party chieftains affected by the de-registration of 28 parties by INEC on Friday in Abuja described the exercise as human rights violation.

Reacting to the development, National Chairman, National Conscience Party (NCP), Dr Yunisa Tanko, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that INEC should be charged for contempt of court.

He added that the de-registration of the parties was also an infringement of the fundamental human rights of citizens and against the laws of Nigeria.

Tanko said that there was an on going court case in a Lagos High Court between INEC and NCP and many other political parties, on the de-registration of political parties.

He said that INEC was not above the law, adding that the judiciary must be respected to ensure the rule of law.

"Injury to one is injury to all, Nigerians are now being disenfranchised by INEC, this is unacceptable, the law court will interpret this again," he said.

Mr Charles Nwodo, National Chairman PAC, said that the action of INEC was a "mockery of the Nation's democracy".

Nwodo said it was "so unfortunate" that there was no brainstorming session between INCE and the chieftains of the affected political parties before the commission took the decision.

He said that since most of the affected political parties had their cases in court over the de-registrtion, INEC should have allowed court to decided before de-registering the parties.

"We are going to test our strength again at the court of law, it is against the law of the land and undemocratic to de-register 28 parties, who knows how many will follow," he said.

Nwodo recalled that so many political parties operated in the country on a level playing ground without regimentation.

"Nigeria cannot have one party state and democracy is all about participation, if other nations with just 10 million or less are having more than 100 political parties, then why regimentation in Nigeria?" he questioned.

Nwodo faulted INEC's reason for the action, which it said was based on poor performance of the political parties and the fact that the affected parties had no offices in the 36 states of the federation.

According to him, that the parties have not won a seat, even at the local government level, should not be a basis for their de-registration.

"Historically, INEC must know that at a time AD had more than 60 honourable members and governors and PPA had two governors. If today they are not there, it is not the end of life," he explained.

Malam Balarabe Musa, National Chairman PRP, said in a telephone interview with NAN that the commission owed the party full explanation on the de-registration, a development he described as an embarrassment.

He said, "We have contempt for those who think they can kill PRP and what it stands for.

"This de-registration will not stand because to me, it is a big embarrassment to my political life and the beginning of a democratic dictatorship in Nigeria."

He said that PRP had been in existence for long pointing out that the party had contributed to democratic development of the nation.

"It is a matter we shall address. We will not accept it. It is an interference with the fundamental rights of the Nigerian people," he said, adding that he was not told why his political party was de-registered.

Musa said that PRP would rely on section 40 of the 1999 Constitution to continue to function as a political party.

NAN recalls that in April, INEC de-registered seven political parties thus scaling down the number of registered political parties in the country from 63 to 56.


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