Members of 22 deregistered political parties on Thursday stormed the headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Abuja, vowing to participate in the forthcoming Anambra State governorship election.
The parties also submitted letters of notice to conduct governorship primary elections to the electoral body in line with Section 87 (2) of the Electoral Act which empowers political parties to determine the procedure for the nomination of candidates which shall be by direct or indirect primaries.
The parties maintained that the judgment of the appeal court was declarative and did not give room for a stay of execution.
Upon arrival at the gate of the building, the national chairmen of the political parties who came to submit their letters were not allowed into the premises of INEC by security agents.
However, after some persistence put up by the party leaders, the Special Assistant to the INEC chairman, Abdulrasheed Mohammed, came to address the parties’ officials, and asked them to delegate two people to go inside and submit their letters.
Addressing journalists on behalf of the parties, the national chairman, Peoples Democratic For Change, Igwe Emeka Benjamin, said they had the right to participate in the forthcoming Anambra State election slated for November 6, 2021.
He said they went to court to challenge their deregistration by INEC and they had a favourable declarative judgment by the Appeal Court quashing their deregistration by the Commission.
He lamented the humiliation and embarrassment they had suffered in the hands of the commission since they were deregistered on February 6, 2020.
He said, “We are gathered here to submit our letters of notice of primaries for Anambra election and happily INEC has accepted our letters and this is their stamp of acknowledgement.
“The reason we came in a group is because for the past eight months, we have been making attempts to serve INEC and to participate in the Edo and Ondo states and other bye-elections for Senate, House of Representatives, and state Assemblies and INEC has been rebuffing our letters. Each time we come here, they tell us that we have been deregistered.
“But today, INEC has realised that you cannot try to break the law, it will bend because the consequences are there. God has touched their hearts and they have accepted our letters for us to participate in Anambra.
“All the rights and privileges of registered political parties have been restored. We have become registered political parties from this moment.”
The parties that submitted the notice to conduct primaries are the Advanced Congress of Democrats, Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party, All Blending Party, All Grand Alliance Party, Alliance of Social Democrats, Change Advocacy Party, Democratic People’s Congress, and the Green Party of Nigeria.
Others are the Peoples Coalition Party, Progressive Peoples Alliance, People for Democratic Change, Young Democratic Party, Re-Build Nigeria Party, Save Nigeria Congress, Socialist Party of Nigeria, United Democratic Party, United Patriots, and We The People of Nigeria.
Recall that delivering the judgment, the court’s president, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, unanimously held that INEC ignored due process in exercising its powers under Section 225(a) of the 1999 constitution (as amended).
SaharaReporters, New York