…affirms deregistration of Political Parties
The Supreme Court on Friday made some landmark judgments as it declared the dissolution of local government administrations in Oyo and Katsina States and their replacement with caretaker committees as illegal.
The Apex court also affirmed the judgement of the Court of the Appeal Court which upheld the deregistration of the National Unity Party and others.
The court judgment delivered by Justice Adamu Jauro,on the local governments dissolution by both the Oyo and Katsina State governments of the Court was a unanimous decision. It condemned the Oyo and Katsina State governments for the unlawful dissolution of the state duly elected local government Council officials.
The Court in the suit filed by Abubakar Ibrahim Yantaba and others vs Governor of Katsina State, in its judgment, allowed the appeal and set aside the judgment of the Court of Appeal.
It ruled that the dissolution of duly elected PDP local government council officials by Governor Aminu Masari on allegation of financial misappropriation of council’s funds is illegal, unconstitutional, null, and void.
The Court further gave consequential orders directing that the unlawfully dissolved elected People Democratic Party (PDP) Council officials are paid all their entitlements from the date of their illegal dissolution to the date they were supposed to vacate office.
The Court also awarded costs to the Appellants and insisted that it should be complied with within a time frame.
Governor Masari had on assumption of office in July 2015 unlawfully dissolved Katsina State duly elected PDP Council officials on the allegation of misappropriation of Local Governments’ funds.
In the same vein, the Court has affirmed the judgment of the Court of Appeal which supported the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to deregister the Unity Party and others in the last general election.
The electoral umpire had had last year deregistered the parties over failure to win any election during the 2019 general election.
In the judgment, delivered by Justice Adamu Jauro, the apex court said the de-registration of NUP and 73 other parties was done in line with the law and compliance with the extant provisions of the Constitution and Electoral Act.
In the appeal before the apex court, NUP challenged their deregistration by INEC at the Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal.
The Abuja Division of the Appeal Court had on July 29, 2020, affirmed the powers of the 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 had 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.
INEC, in deregistering the affected 74 political parties in February 2020 stated that they failed to meet the minimum requirement to enable them to remain in