A Federal High Court in Abuja has reversed the decision by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to de-register the Youth Party of Nigeria.
Justice Inyang Ekwo, in a judgment on Monday, held that INEC acted in breach of the political party’s right to a fair hearing when it announced the Youth Party’s de-registration during the pendency of a case the party filed against INEC’s earlier threat to de-register it.
The judgment was on a suit filed by the Youth Party, which had INEC as the sole defendant.
Justice Ekwo held that although INEC is empowered under Section 255(a) of the Constitution to de-register political parties, such power must be exercised lawfully.
The judge noted that while the suit was filed in January 2020, INEC announced the de-registration of the plaintiff on February 6, 2020.
Justice Ekwo held that the manner the defendant threatened to de-register the plaintiff and the manner it went about de-registering the plaintiff were arbitrary.
He added that INEC’s decision to de-register the plaintiff during the pendency of the case amounted to an arbitrary exercise of powers.
The judge granted the plaintiff’s relief six and proceeded to grant an order restraining INEC from de-registering the plaintiff until it (Youth Party) is given equal opportunity to participate in the 2023 general elections.