BY VINCENT UJUMADU
AWKA-AN Onitsha-based legal practitioner and human rights activist, Mr. Jezie Ekejiuba, has dragged the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, to court for the withdrawal of certificate of registration of seven political parties in the country over their inability to win any seat during the last general elections, arguing that the action was inconsistent with and violates the 1999 constitution.
In suit No: FHC/AWKA/CS/E20/2011 filed at the Federal High Court, Awka, Ekejiuba prayed for an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants and their agents from putting into effect the de-registration of the recognised political parties because the action had the effect of infringing on the fundamental human rights of members of the affected parties.
In the originating summons brought pursuant to order 3, rule 6 of the Federal High Court rules, 2009, the plaintiff said: “The de-registration of seven recognized political parties in Nigeria by INEC on 18th day of August, 2011, pursuant to section 78(7) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) is inconsistent with section 40 of the amended 1999 constitution of Nigeria.”
According to him, there is no provision in the third schedule that created INEC which empowers it to deregister or withdraw the certificate of registration of any of the recognized political parties in Nigeria, adding that the registration and recognition of political parties in Nigeria under section 222 (a –l) of the constitution is permanent and irrevocable.
Ekejiuba argued further that as a human rights activist and councillorship candidate of All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, in the many postponed local government election in Anambra State since 2003, the action of INEC would adversely affect him
The presiding judge, Justice Peter Olayiwola adjourned the case to November 28, 2011, for hearing.