By Musa Baba Adamu
The Democratic Peoples Congress (DPC) has enjoined the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to obey the subsisting court ruling which had voided the deregistration of twenty two political parties by the Commission, and include them in the political parties that will contest the Anambra governorship election on November 6.
Recall that INEC had sacked about 79 political parties over their inability to win a sit at both national and state levels after the 2019 general election, sequel to which twenty two of the affected parties went to Appeal Court and obtained judgement against the Commission, forcing the Prof Mahmud Yakubu led INEC to appeal the decision of the Appellate Court at the Supreme Court, but no judgement yet.
To this situation, the Commission had said the twenty two affected parties would not participate in the election slated for November 6 in Anambra state.
But reacting to this declaration by INEC, DPC, which is one of the political parties affected by the decision of INEC accused the commission of muddling up facts to prevent the twenty two parties from participating in the Anambra Governorship election.
A statement issued yesterday by the chairman of DPC, Olusegun Peters, said “We are irked by the Independent National Electoral Commission spreading of lies and misinformation to the general public to justify its disobedience to a unanimous declaratory judgment of the full panel of the Court of Appeal in Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD) & 21 Others v Attorney General of the Federation and INEC, given on 10th August, 2020. The Commission is trying to muddle up the facts which has been distinguished by the same Court.
“The facts of the two cases ACD & 21 others and Attorney General of the Federation & INEC, and the National Unity Party, NUP’s case are totally different and the outcomes can never be the same. The facts in ACD & 21 others were that INEC acted in deregistering the 22 parties who were already in court before Justice Anwuli Chikere of Federal High Court 3, Abuja, without following the due process of the law, and the Court held that the contention of the 22 parties were valid and ordered INEC to amongst others RELIST THE APPELLANTS AS REGISTERED POLITICAL PARTIES.
“The decision of the Court of Appeal being a declaratory judgment cannot be stayed by way of execution, the motion for execution which INEC filed immediately after the judgment was hurriedly withdrawn by the Commission after foreseeing the futility of the application in court.
“NUP never went to court to challenge the mode and lack of due process in its deregistration, but whether INEC had the powers to deregister which the Court answered in the affirmative.
“The fact that INEC has appealed to the Supreme Court does not stop it from obeying the orders of the Court of Appeal as appeal in law does not operate as stay of execution. Each day INEC disobeys the order of the Court and orders from other courts which they are accustomed to, it diminishes the integrity and the potency of the courts and their orders, and to an extent our democracy, and portrays the Commission as an Agency of government that does not believe in the rule of law.
“Executive recklessness and rascality is the bane of the nation’s frail democracy which must be resisted by all lovers of genuine democracy in Nigeria as clearly stated by the former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen (rtd) when he said in Abuja recently: “During my tenure, the problem of Nigeria was not the Nigerian judiciary, but those who had no regard for the rule of law. We must therefore be committed to the rule of law and dispense justice without fear or favour. Truth stands, crush it, it will stand because it is truth.”
“INEC is a critical democratic institution and foundation on which our emerging democracy is built as the electoral umpire. We urge the Commission to respect the rule of law and comply with the judgment of the Court of Appeal and relist the 22 political parties it wrongly deregistered to enable the parties participate in the November Anambra State governorship election while pursuing its appeal at the apex court. Nigeria is a nation governed by the rule of law, not rule of might and impunity.
“Relisting the affected political parties now will surely boost the Anambra State gubernatorial poll and offer the people a better opportunity to choose a credible candidate in the November 6, 2021, election. This will go a long way in deepening and strengthening the nation’s democratic process. In the interest of justice, multiparty democracy and national cohesion, INEC should obey the judgment of a court of competent jurisdiction immediately.”