A Federal High Court in Abuja has ruled that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had the power to de-register political parties.
In a judgement on Friday, Justice Taiwo Taiwo said INEC was empowered under the Constitution to de-register political parties that failed to meet provisions of Section 225(a) of the Constitution.
The judgement was response to suit by Hope Democratic Party (HDP) which queried the recent decision by INEC to de-register it and some others.
Justice Taiwo said HDP fell short of the requirements under Section 225(a) of the Constitution, and that the party also failed to convince the court that INEC’s decision to de-register it, as a political party, was unlawful.
According to the judge, since it is a legal principle that he who asserts must prove, the plaintiff was under the obligation to prove that INEC acted unconstitutionally by de-registering it as a political party.
Justice Taiwo held that the plaintiff did not only fail to prove its case, “the case of the plaintiff is weak and as such, it cannot be granted the reliefs sought.’
He said, “The plaintiff has the onus to prove its case, but has failed to show to the court that it met the requirements of Section 225(a) of the Constitution.
“The plaintiff ought to give particulars of malice when it alleged that it was de-registered out of malice. The court is not a Father Christmas to grant reliefs that have not been sought.
“The defendant has the powers to de-register political and the defendant was right to have de-registered the plaintiff having failed to meet the requirements of a political party.”
Justice Taiwo had, in a judgment on May 28, this year, held similar view in the suit by the National Unity Party (NUP), one of the 74 parties de-registered by INEC in February, this year.
He had held that NUP’s de-registration was lawfully done by INEC in accordance with powers vested on it under Section 225(a) of the Constitution.