The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has insisted that no court in the country stopped it from de-registering 22 political parties.
Rotimi Oyekanmi, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, said this in an interview on Tuesday in reaction to a judgment by the Court of Appeal voiding the commission’s decision on party pre-registration.
A five-man panel led by Justice Dongban-Mensem, President of the Court of Appeal, had in its unanimous judgment delivered on 10 August, reversed the deregistration of the parties the grounds that the act was carried out in breach of the provision of section 225(a) of the 1999 constitution (as amended).
The appellate court also held that the decision of INEC to de-register the political parties while they had filed a suit at the Federal High Court was a sign of disobedience to the lower court.
But according to Oyekanmi, no court order stopped the electoral umpire from deregistering the parties as of the time it was done in February 2020.
The spokesperson to the INEC Chairman said it was only the Action Peoples Party obtained a restraining order, which was honoured by the commission.
He said: “In February when the commission deregistered 74 political parties, there was only one restraining order against INEC in favour of the Action Peoples Party which had filed a suit to stop the Commission from deregistering it.
“That was why the APP was exempted from the deregistration process.
“To be sure, I am not aware of any other restraining order against the commission as of that time (February 2020).”
Oyekannmi noted that an earlier July 29, 2020 judgment of the Court of Appeal in Abuja had affirmed the power of INEC to deregister political parties that failed to meet the conditions spelt out in section 225(a) of the constitution.
He said with the two judgments of the Court of Appeal with one validating the deregistration of the political parties and the 10 August ruling by the same court, the commission’s remaining option was to appeal to the Supreme Court and await its final decision.