One of the de-registered political parties, The Abundant Nigerian Renewal party ANRP is heading to the court to challenge the action of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
Speaking exclusively to Signaturetv, the Presidential candidate of the party in the 2019 general elections, Tope Fasua, said that his party would go back to court to contest the deregistration of his party.
He said the ANRP had taken the matter to the Federal High Court in Abuja and would ensure that the matter is exhaustively contested before a court of competent jurisdiction. ’’ Our party the ANRP has already taken the case to the court, we shall approach the issue legally, it was first entertained sometime in January, the next hearing is 17th of February and INEC has been served’’, he said.
Describing the de-registration of the 74 political parties by INEC as draconian, Tope Fasua who doubles as the National Chairman of the ANRP, insisted that it was ‘’not acceptable in a democracy’’.
He faulted the argument by INEC that the deregistered parties did not meet the constitutional requirement of winning at least 25% of votes in at least a local government in the 2019 general elections, saying that 13 states out of the 36 states in the country are yet to conduct local government elections.
‘’The 3rd schedule, section 225 of the Nigerian Constitution says that at the ward level, you must win 25% of a local government election, but 13 states are yet to conduct local government elections. That you contest election once and you loose your license, where is that done, under what justice, under what equity’’, he queried.
Citing the Kogi and Bayelsa states gubernatorial and National Assembly elections held in 2019, the ANRP National Chairman, said that since 1999, Nigeria has been going down politically and economically, adding that it is only the small political parties that can save the country.
‘’The real problem of bribery and corruption that had defined our politics to date and the violence are not orchestrated by the number of registered political parties, and it’s not the small parties that are perpetrating them. The young parties are actually the hope of this country because we are coming with that naïve mind set, in fact we are being punished now for not being violent’’.
Appealing to INEC to rescind its action, the ANRP National Chairman maintained that the 74 proscribed political parties had invested in the past elections as well as in human and material resources and cannot just be deregistered.
‘’I believe we should be given a couple of opportunities before we are DE-registered. Until the last local government election takes place in this country, you cannot say we have lost it. There is a contract between them and the political parties, we had invested in elections, structures’’, he added.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC had last week announced the deregistration of 74 out of the 91 registered parties, leaving only 18 as existing political parties in the country.