The Youth Party won a resounding victory in its bid to ensure that INEC respects the rule of law, particularly obedience to judicial decisions.
The Supreme Court, Abuja, led by Honourable Justice Uwani Musa Abba Aji, delivered its unanimous judgment against the Appeal filed by the Independent Electoral Commission. The Court upheld the decision of the Federal High Court Abuja delivered by Honourable Justice I.E., Ekwo that declared the purported de-registration of the Party illegal, null, and void ’. And that of the Court of Appeal which also “found the action of the Appellant very reprehensive.”
The judgment at the lower Courts was based on INEC’s persistent disregard for the law and judicial decisions in failing to register the Party within the time stipulated in the law and preventing it from participating in elections illegally.
Recall that the Electoral umpire had failed to register the Party after it got a judgment against it in FHC/ABJ/CS/221/2017 between Chukwudi Adiukwu & Ors V. INEC delivered on 18th October 2017 until 14th August 2018, less than 5 days to the commencement of Party primaries in 2018. INEC further resorted to illegal self-help by illegally de-registering Youth Party while both were before the Federal High Court over the issue.
Furthermore, INEC is currently refusing to list the Party on its website as a registered Party or allow it to participate in any election even in the face of the aforesaid judgment, which had not been set aside or stayed.
Honorable Justice I.E. Ekwo, in his judgment, held that:
“the Defendant is not above the law. No person or parties to an action is allowed to resort to self-help when an action is pending in Court”. The claim that Defendant has the power pursuant to S. 225A (b) & (c) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) to de-register a political party does not justify the action of Defendant while this action is pending. The defendant must understand that the constitution is not an author of confusion. I condemn the action of Defendant as a wrong exercise of might. Therefore, the de-registration of Plaintiff during the pendency of this action by Defendant is illegal, null, and void, and liable to be set aside. Consequently, I hereby make an order to set aside the Plaintiff’s de-registration.”
Sadly, INEC’s abuse of power and disregard for the rule of law has illegally frustrated several of our members from legitimately pursuing their aspirations. It has also cost the party an immeasurable amount of resources over the last few years. Thankfully, this illegality ends today.
The Supreme Court’s decision also paid attention to the orchestrated and incorrect media interpretation of the recent Supreme Court Case involving NUP and INEC that it had effectively deregistered Youth Party and other parties. It is pertinent to state that Youth Party was not a party to the case and the facts of the case were different from its case. Essentially, it cannot serve as a judicial precedent against the Youth Party as upheld by the Court of Appeal today.
Once again, we thank the Nigerian judiciary for giving us hope that the rule of law is still sacrosanct and the judiciary is the hope of our democracy.
We enjoin INEC to respect the constitutional rights of our members and the Nigerian electorates to freely elect their leaders by allowing the candidates of the Party for the Eti Osa II House of Assembly Seat in Lagos State, Tari Taylaur as well as its gubernatorial candidate in Abia State, Mrs. Victoria Oluchi, to participate freely in the 2023 elections