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Court upholds INEC’s deregistration of AUN as political party

The Federal High Court in Abuja, on Wednesday, upheld the deregistration of Alliance for a United Nigeria, AUN, as a political party by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

The court, in a judgement that was delivered by Justice Ahmed Mohammed, held that the decision of INEC to deregister the party, was “unassailable”.

It held that the AUN failed to meet the statutory threshold of the registration requirement for political parties, having participated in the 2019 general elections and failed to win any seat in either Federal, State or Local Government level.

Justice Mohammed maintained that section 225(a) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, empowered INEC to deregister any political party that failed to meet the statutory requirement.

Consequently, the court dismissed the suit AUN filed to challenge its deregistration as a political party in the country.

The Plaintiff had in an Originating Summons it filed on February 13, prayed the court to among other things, determine whether by the provision of section 225 (a) of the Constitution, its deregistration by INEC was not unconstitutional and amounted to an infringement of its right.

The party prayed the court to declare that the action INEC took against it, was unconstitutional, null and void and of no effect.

AUN further applied for an order to be relisted as a political party.

It told the court that it had already fielded candidates for an impending election in Cross River State, saying it would suffer immense hardship except its deregistration was reversed.

Aside INEC, its Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu was also cited as a Defendant in the suit.

The Defendants had in a counter-affidavit they filed against the suit, told the court that the Plaintiff which was registered before February 6, 2020, participated in the 2019 general elections but failed to win atleast 25% of votes cast in any state of the federation.

The Defendants told the court that the certificate of registration of the Plaintiff was lawfully withdrawn.

INEC argued that it was constitutionally empowered to deregister any political party that failed to meet the registration requirement.