The Independent National Electoral Commission has been sued by the Reform and Advancement Party for deregistering it.
RAP is among the 74 political parties deregistered by INEC on Thursday for their poor performance in the 2019 general elections.
The party, along with its National Chairman, Dr Nonyerem Davidson, and its National Youth Leader, Alexander Ocheinu, on Monday, jointly filed the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/129/2020 before the Federal High Court in Abuja to challenge its deregistration.
Details of the suit was obtained by Punch on Tuesday.
The party urged the court to nullify its deregistration and restore it as a registered political party.
The plaintiffs’ lawyer, Kingdom Okere, of Prima Facie Chambers, argued that the party was not given a fair hearing before INEC took the decision to deregister it.
A supporting affidavit attached to the suit read in part, “That in the exercise of such powers which will affect and terminate the legal existence of a duly registered political party, fair hearing and justice demands that after or before reaching its conclusion, the defendant should have invited the 3rd plaintiff (RAP) to explain and give reasons why it will not be deregistered in accordance with Section 225(a) of the 4th alteration to the 1999 Constitution and in Section 78 (7a) (i) and (ii) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended 2015).”
Okere added that the party was not given adequate time to prove itself as it was only registered on August 14, 2018, less than six months before the 2019 general elections.
Among the five prayers sought in the suit, the lawyer urged the court to declare that the powers vested in INEC to register and regulate activities of political parties in Nigeria, in addition to the powers to deregister political parties provided in Section 225(a) of the constitution and in Section 78 (7a) (i) and (ii) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended 2015) “can only be exercised when democratically organised election has been conducted at the federal and state levels and in the 778 local government areas recognised in the 1999 Constitution.”
He sought, among others, “an order directing and compelling the defendant (INEC) to immediately restore the registration of the 3rd plaintiff(RAP) as a political party duly registered in Nigeria under the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and under the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) 2015; and to continue recognising, relate and communicate all official correspondences with the 1st plaintiff, Dr Israel Nonyerem Davidson, as the national chairman of the 3rd plaintiff.”
The matter had yet to be assigned to a judge.