THE Independent National Electoral Commission on Thursday announced the deregistration of 28 political parties thus sending their promoters off the political stage as the march towards the 2015 general elections gathers momentum.
Affected by the deregistration are Pastor Chris Okotie’s Fresh Democratic Party; Balarabe Musa’s Peoples Redemption Party; and the National Reformation Party, founded by the late nationalist, Anthony Enahoro, among others.
The National Advance Party of Dr. Tunji Braithwaite, as well as the Democratic Peoples Alliance of ex-Finance Minister, Chief Olu Falae are also on the list.
INEC did not state the reason for its action, but it is suspected that the licence granted some of the affected parties might have been withdrawn because of their inability to win any electoral seat in the 2011 elections.
When contacted, Kayode Idowu, spokesman for the INEC National Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, told The PUNCH Thursday night that the reason for the deregistration had been communicated to the owners of the parties.
“The statement is clear and the commission had contacted the affected political parties and they know the reasons for our action,” Idowu said.
According to a statement by the Commission’s Secretary, Abdullahi Kaugama, INEC said it deregistered the 28 parties “in the exercise of the powers conferred on it by the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).”
It pledged its commitment to relating with political parties in accordance with extant laws and for the benefit of the nation’s electoral democracy.
Also on the list of parties deregistered by INEC are, African Liberation Party, Action Party of Nigeria, African Political System, Better Nigeria Progressive Party, Congress for Democratic Change, Community Party of Nigeria, Freedom Party of Nigeria, Hope Democratic Party, Justice Party, Liberal Democratic Party of Nigeria, Movement for Democracy and Justice, and the Movement for the Restoration and Defence of Democracy.
Others are, New Democrats, National Majority Democratic Party, National Movement of Progressive Party, National Solidarity Democratic Party, Progressive Action Congress, Peoples Mandate Party, Peoples Progressive Party, People’s Salvation Party, Republican Party of Nigeria, United National Party for Development and the United Nigeria Peoples Party.
Braithwaite last night rejected the deregistration and vowed to contest it. He accused INEC of infringing on the fundamental human rights of citizens.
“I am not aware of the deregistration; and if it is true, they are wasting their time. It is a matter we shall address. We will not accept it. It is an interference with the fundamental rights of the Nigerian people,” Braithwaite, who is NAP’s National Chairman, told one of our correspondents on the phone.
Balarabe Musa also said that the action of the electoral body would not stand. He said he was not told why his political party was de-registered.
“We have contempt for those who think they can kill PRP and what it stands for. We will rely on Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution to continue to function as a political party and also continue the struggle for democracy.
“This deregistration will not stand. In fact, it is the beginning of dictatorship in Nigeria by (Chairman of INEC, Prof Attahiru) Jega and it will not stand,” Musa said on the phone Thursday night.
Asked if he was contacted before the commission took the action, he said no.
“I was not told. No one said anything to me on the matter,” he added.
Also the National Publicity Secretary of the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties in Nigeria, Mr. Osita Okechukwu, said the de-registration would not stand.
Okechukwu told one of our correspondents on the telephone that Jega and the electoral commission did not have the powers to deregister any political party.
He said, “They are deceiving themselves. Jega wants to become a dictator and he has failed to understand the concept of liberal democracy.
“It is the electorate that determine the survival of any political party and not any electoral body. He is just wasting his time because power belongs to the people.”
Culled from : The Punch