The Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC), in Ebonyi on Saturday, rejected de-registration of 74 political parties by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Members of the council made the rejection in separate interviews with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abakaliki stating that the INEC’s action would not be observed in the state.
Mrs Jennifer Adibe-Nwafor, immediate past state Chairman of IPAC and the Special Assistant (SA) to the Governor on Inter-Party and Labour Matters, said that INEC did not follow the laid down procedures for such actions.
“It is true that section 225 sub section A of the 1999 constitution empowers INEC to de-register political parties but the parties should be informed officially.
“One of the criteria for a party to escaped de-registration is that political parties must secure at least a seat either in the ward, Local Government Area (LGA) state and national assemblies.
“The Kowa Party for instance, met this criterion by having a councilor-ship seat in Imo and presented over 200 candidates across the country in the 2019 general elections,” she said.
Mr Morgan Nwogba, IPAC Chairman in the state, described the action as a big shock and maintained that the council would not observe such in the state.
“When INEC threatened to de-register 34 political parties in 2019, over 34 party chairmen approached the court to stop such action.
“The court is billed to deliver judgment on the matter on Feb.17, 2020 and it was expected that INEC could had waited till then before de-registering the parties.
Nwogba, who is the United Patriots (UP) state chairman, advised INEC to immediately reverse the decision stating that IPAC would only adhere to directives from its national body.
Mr Oko Ewa-Enyim, Legal adviser of IPAC in Ebonyi and state Chairman of the Nigerian Peoples Congress (NPC), said that INEC’s action amounted to contempt of court.
“Ebonyi is yet to conduct its LGA election for INEC to determine if the parties could meet the stipulated criteria as my party even garnered over 10,000 votes in the 2019 general elections,” he said.
Mr Ricky Okorouka, state Chairman of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), said that although his party was not affected in the de-registration, the issue remained a constitutional one.
“I feel for my colleagues whose parties were de-registered and urge INEC to give them time for the court to settle the matter,” he said.