Court of Appeal declares Section 78(7) (ii) of Electoral Act 2010 null and void

The Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal in a judgment delivered today, the 24th of July 2015, declared the provisions of Section 78(7)(ii) of the Electoral Act 2010 which empowers the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to de-register political parties which fail to win presidential or governorship elections or win a seat in the National Assembly or state Houses of Assembly, unconstitutional, null and void.

The appeal was one lodged by the National Conscience Party (NCP) against the judgment of Hon. Justice O. Abang of the Federal High Court, Lagos delivered on the 6th of March 2013. The Federal High Court had in its judgment, in a suit instituted by the NCP challenging its de-registration by INEC, affirmed the constitutionality of Section 78 (7)(ii) of the Electoral Act 2010 stating that the said provision did not conflict with the provisions of the Constitution or the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Right Enforcement and Ratification Act. The court had further stated that winning an election was an obligation needed to be fulfilled before a political party can be recognised by INEC and that the de-registration of political parties is part of INEC’s regulatory roles recognised by the proviso in Section 40 of the Constitution.

The appellate court however upturned the decision of the Federal High Court, Lagos stating that it is not a constitutional requirement for a political party to win an election before it can be accorded recognition.