Lagos - Some Lawyers in Lagos on Sunday criticised the de-registration of 28
political parties by INEC and described it as a of disregard to the
INEC had on Dec. 6, announced the de-registration of 28 political
parties out of the 56 registered political parties in the country.
A Lagos-based lawyer and human rights activist, Spurgeon Ataene,
told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the electoral body’s action
was contrary to the provisions of Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution as
amended, "which guarantees every citizen
of Nigeria, a right to peaceful assembly and association.’’
He said: "The right and freedom to assembly and association as
guaranteed by the constitution, allowed every Nigerian citizen to
associate, and this association include the establishment and membership
of political parties in the country."
He said the action was an infringement on constitutional right of the people.
Another lawyer, Anthony Makolo, said that every politician in the
country has a right to contest for political positions under any
platform "because he or she has the freedom to associate.’’
Makolo said that whether a political party emerged as winner for any
political position in Nigeria or not, it should have no bearing with the
functions of INEC, which has the primary duty to conduct elections in
"I think these political parties have an undiluted right to come under
whatever platform they deem fit in engaging in political activities in
"To now say they are de-registered for whatever reason, is to my mind, an over stretching of INEC's powers and functions.’’
He added that the major concern of INEC should be to ensure the
conduct of free and fair election, and not to measure successes of
political parties in the country.
Ogedi Ogu, also a lawyer, said that although the Electoral Act gave
wide powers to the commission in handling political parties in the
country, the Act was still subject to the Constitution which served as
the norm in Nigeria.
Ogu said it was always better to allow maximum number of political
parties in a country to operate, to make room for competition to
He added that where there were restrictions on the number of parties,
it would create monopolistic situations where leadership would be
reserved for a certain political class.
He described the action of the commission as a contravention of the
constitution and stressed that individuals have a right to freedom of