INEC De-registeration: Okotie Cries Foul, Heads to Court

In the wake of the deregistration by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of 28 political parties, there have been various reactions from Rev Chris Okotie, a former presidential candidate; three lawyers and the All Nigeria Peoples’ Party.

While Okotie, whose Fresh Party had fallen victim to the deregistration, said that INEC’s action showed a tragedy of leadership, ANPP on the other hand said it was constitutional.

Okotie also disclosed that his party would pursue legal redress on the matter.

According to the cleric, “the situation is repugnant to the constitution of Nigeria and it demonstrates the leadership tragedy that has befallen our dear country, Nigeria.”

“Despite this, I hold faith in God and hope in the judiciary that to erase this aberration from our political landscape permanently. We shall head to the court.”

In Okotie’s belief, the electoral body is in cahoots with the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party to introduce autocracy.

He said, “The 2015 fever has affected the logical acumen and political sensibility of the PDP. It is obvious to me that the last presidential campaign has left a deep scar in the psyche of the party and what we are seeing is the manifestation of that vindictive purposelessness.

“Not only is the PDP in cahoots with INEC, they have also established themselves as a political party that is characterised by medieval autocracy.”

Divergent views were also expressed by three senior lawyers on the issue: Messrs Joe-Kyari Gadzama (SAN), Mike Ahamba (SAN) and Abubakar Malami (SAN) who spoke to our correspondents in various telephone interviews.

While INEC’s actions earned the support of Gadzama and Malami who argued that it will bring efficiency to the political system, Ahamba objected, arguing that the electoral body had violated the constitutional rights of the members of the concerned parties by its actions.

His argument got the backing of Malami, who said that even though INEC took the right step, it breached the parties’ constitutional right to freedom of association in doing so.

Gadzama said INEC had acted within the constitutional powers. This, he said, was due to the fact that not only had the parties become irrelevant, but that they also constituted a burden as they draw grants from public funds.

Gadzama said, “I think they (INEC) have the powers to do so under the parties were not performing and they have become a burden to the government because they are entitled to some funding.

“If they have no representation in any of the tiers of government why should they continue to be there?”

The Herald NG

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