Court Fixes Date for Substantive Suit Filed by Deregistered Parties
The Federal High Court, Abuja, has again adjourned until fixed June 3 to hear a suit filed by 31 political parties against the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
Justice Anwuli Chikere, on Friday, gave the new date following the court’s inability to sit as scheduled.
INEC had, on February 6, deregistered 74 political parties, leaving 18 others.
However, in a motion on notice with suit number: FHC//ABJ/ CS/444/19 between Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD) and 32 others Vs. Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and INEC (1st and 2nd respondents respectively), the applicants had approached the court for a restraining order.
Although 33 political parties filed the matter in court, two of the parties, Labour Party, LP, and African Democratic Congress, ADC, were later dropped from the suit because INEC did not deregister the parties.
Justice Chikere had, on February 17, restrained INEC from deregistering the parties in a ruling, having failed to counter the application by the plaintiffs, saying the affected political parties had the legal right, which must be protected.
On May 20, the judge had adjourned the hearing of the substantive matter and the adoption of processes filed by parties till May 29.
On Friday, however, the court could not sit due to a mistake on their part on the exact date of adjournment, even though the political parties’ lawyer, Kehinde Edun, and counsel to INEC, Alhassan Umar, were in court.
Justice Chikere, after meeting the counsel in her chamber, fixed June 3 for the hearing of the case.
The 31 political parties, in the application filed on October 30, 2019, and served on INEC on October 31, 2019, had prayed the court for “an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the 2nd defendant from deregistering the plaintiffs, or any political party for that matter, pending the determination of this suit. And for such further order(s) as this Honourable Court may deem fit to make in the circumstances.”
They sought the order because “the plaintiffs as registered political parties have been carrying out their constitutional/statutory duties and functions without any funding from the government.
“The plaintiffs have been canvassing for votes and nominating candidates for elections into electoral constituencies in Nigeria.”