At its sitting on Friday, the court upheld an earlier judgement of the court of appeal, which stated that Independent National Electoral Commission’s action was in order.
A seven-man panel of the apex court led by Chima Nweze held that the deregistration was done in compliance with the extant provisions of the constitution and electoral act.
In February 2020, INEC deregistered the parties after citing their failure to meet certain criteria listed in the constitution.
Some of the criteria they failed to meet included winning at least 25 percent of the votes cast in one state in a presidential election or 25 percent of the votes cast in one local government area.
However, some of the parties went to court to contest the commission’s action. In August, the court of appeal sitting in Abuja said 22 of the parties were illegally deregistered.
Abuja Division of Appeal Court on July 29, 2020, affirmed the powers of National Independent National Electoral Commission to deregister political parties.
Delivering the lead judgment of a panel of the court, Justice Mohammed Idris, held that INEC did not err in law in the deregistration of the National Unity Party, which filed the appeal.
The court upheld the judgment of Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja which earlier in May 2020 nullified the deregistration of NUP and 73 other political parties for being in breach of section 225(a)of the Nigeria Constitution.
The said constitutional provision spells out the minimum election victory a party must record or percentage of votes it must poll to sustain its status as a registered political party.
Amid the confusion, both the commission and the NUP headed to the supreme court in separate applications challenging the court judgements.