INEC’S FRESH POWERS TO DE-REGISTER POLITICAL PARTIES
In the case of Independent National Electoral Commission v. Balarabe Musa (2003) 10 WRN 1, the Supreme Court upheld the basic proper of Nigerian residents to kind or belong to political events of their alternative in accordance with Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution of the Republic.
But the enlargement of the democratic area was exploited by people of ill-motivated agenda who arrange every kind of political associations and proceeded to register them as political events.
Regrettably, INEC has failed woefully to implement the related provisions of the Constitution and the Electoral Act on the registration and operation of political events.
However, the opportunism of among the political events was uncovered when elected legislators decamped from one occasion to a different with out resigning from the legislative homes to resume their mandate.
INEC didn’t insist on inner democracy when a number of godfathers engaged within the imposition of candidates to contest elections opposite to the provisions of the Electoral Act.
As if that was sufficient, among the registered political events shamelessly deserted their presidential candidates and adopted Alhaji Mohammed Buhari and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidates of the All Progressive Congress and Peoples Democratic Party respectively within the just lately concluded basic elections.
Disturbed by the mockery of multi occasion democracy within the nation by means of the unprincipled proliferation of political events the National Assembly amended the Electoral Act 2010 to empower INEC to de-register political events that did not win any election. Since political events had been registered pursuant to part 222 of the Constitution the fits filed by the affected political events succeeded because the Federal High Court declared the modification unconstitutional and set it apart.
However, the National Assembly took benefit of the 2017 constitutional evaluation to scale back the variety of registered political events within the nation. Thus, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Fourth Alteration, No 9) Act, 2017 enacted on May 4, 2017 has amended part 225 of the 1999 Constitution to empower the Independent National Electoral Commission to de-register political events on grounds of:
“a. breach of any of the necessities for registration;
b. failure to win a minimum of twenty-five p.c of votes solid in-
i. one State of the Federation in a Presidential election; or
ii. one Local Government of the State in a Governorship election;
c. failure to win at least-
i. one ward within the Chairmanship election;
ii. one seat within the National or State House of Assembly election; or
iii. one seat within the Councillorship election.”
From the foregoing, it’s indubitably clear that INEC has been conferred with monumental powers to de-register political events that fail to satisfy the recent constitutional stipulations. Going by the outcomes of the 2019 basic elections the 91 registered political events might have been lowered to lower than 10 that will have scaled the constitutional hurdle. Not a number of people would hail the constitutional modification in view of the prostitution of the political system by political events are ill-equipped to advertise participatory democracy, financial freedom, human rights and rule of regulation. But it should be identified that the deliberate de-registration of political events that fail to win elections is prone to restrict the political area to the so referred to as mainstream political events that aren’t dedicated to any political philosophy or ideology.
Finally, to sanitise the political system INEC is known as upon to formulate new tips for the registration political events inside the ambit of the Constitution. This needs to be executed in view of the truth that not lower than 100 political associations are stated to have submitted purposes for the registration of recent political events. With respect to registered political events INEC should absolutely adjust to part 225(2) of the Constitution by sanctioning them in the event that they fail to submit an in depth annual statement and evaluation of their sources of funds and belongings. This will go a protracted solution to test the monetization and brazen manipulation of the democratic course of by political godfathers.
More importantly, INEC ought to henceforth train its powers beneath Section 224 of the Constitution by guaranteeing that the programmes in addition to the goals and objects of each political occasion conform with the provisions of the basic aims and directive rules of State Policy enshrined in Chapter II of the Constitution.
Femi Falana SAN