The Youth Party has urged the Federal Government to immediately restrict travel from China in other to avoid another pandemic.
We note that although China is refusing to share accurate information on infections and deaths from the resurgence of Covid, it is estimated that at least 5,000 people are dying daily from the dreaded virus. We urge the Federal Government to first restrict travel from China and take necessary steps to trace, isolate and test passengers from China in the last two weeks.
It is pertinent to state that about 13 countries have restricted travel from China to protect their citizens, and I wonder why the Federal Government is waiting for knowing the huge traffic between Nigeria and China. We must ensure we immediately impose travel restrictions from China and take the necessary steps to track passengers that have arrived in Nigeria from China in the last two weeks.
It is our informed position that Nigeria’s health system and economy cannot manage another pandemic and must do everything necessary to avoid a resurgence.
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 judgement 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 judgement at the lower Courts was based on the INEC 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 judgement 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 of them 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 judgement, which had not been set aside or stayed.
Honourable 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 the Defendant has 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 the Defendant while this action is pending. The Defendant must understand that the constitution is not an author of confusion. I condemn the action of the Defendant as a wrong exercise of might. Therefore, the de-registration of the Plaintiff during the pendency of this action by the Defendant is illegal, null and void, and liable to be set aside. Consequently, I hereby make an order setting aside the de-registration of the Plaintiff.”
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 decision of the Supreme Court also put paid 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 was different from its case. Essentially, it cannot serve as a judicial precedent against 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 1 House of Assembly Seat in Lagos State, Tari Taylaur as well as its gubernatorial candidate in Abia State, Mrs Victoria Oluchi Farley-Bradford, to participate freely in the 2023 elections.
In the last few weeks, the leadership of Youth Party has been inundated with concerns about the Party’s direction and future, given the current happenings. As critical stakeholders of the Party and genuine believers in the possibility of a new Nigeria, the issues raised must be addressed comprehensively.
To start with, Youth Party remains a functioning political party duly recognized by law. To date, every organ of the Party has continued to function, carrying out its roles and responsibilities as the Party’s constitution dictates. However, there have been grave challenges that have grossly impacted the Party’s capacity to function optimally.
As you know, despite a Court of Appeal judgment declaring the deregistration of the Party illegal and unlawful, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), led by Professor Mahmood Yakubu, is deliberately and unconstitutionally excluding the Youth Party from participating in the 2023 General Elections. Sadly, INEC has become notorious for flagrantly disobeying court judgments, especially concerning the Youth Party.
In 2017, INEC refused to register the Youth Party after meeting every constitutionally laid down criterion. It took a court order of the Federal High Court Abuja, to compel INEC to respect the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and register the Youth Party. Shockingly, it took INEC 8 months to obey the said order of the Federal High Court, only choosing to register Youth Party one week before the official date earmarked for party primaries. But INEC did not stop there!
Shortly after the 2019 General Election, the leadership of the Party had concerns that INEC was going to deregister the Party, despite deliberately sabotaging Youth Party’s efforts in preparing for the 2019 General Elections. Consequently, Youth Party filed a suit against INEC at the Federal High Court Abuja. During the pendency of the Suit, INEC unilaterally decided to deregister Youth Party for non-performance in the 2019 general elections.
Thankfully, the Federal High Court delivered its Judgement in favour of Youth Party and declared the INEC’s action as illegal. INEC appealed the decision of the Federal High Court to the Court of Appeal, and the Court of Appeal (in a unanimous decision) also declared INEC’s action of deregitering Youth Party as illegal and unlawful. Unfortunately, INEC has thus far refused to comply with the judgements of both the Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal, and has now appealed to the Supreme Court.
The matter came up at the Supreme Court on 27th of September 2022, and the Supreme Court will decide on the 2nd of December 2022.
It will suffice to state that before the eyes of the law, our great party is eligible to contest any election across the country in the absence of any order of court to the contrary.
Where are we now?
While we await the Supreme Court’s decision slated for the 2nd of December 2022, Youth Party will continue to support its two candidates; Mrs. Victoria Oluchi Farley-Bradford, Gubernatorial candidate for Abia state, and Mrs. Tari Taylaur, House of Assembly candidate Eti-Osa 1, Lagos state in the 2023 General Elections. Other party activities will continue, particularly our role as a deliberate opposition party. We are confident that just as the Federal High Court and Court of Appeal have ruled in favour of Youth Party, the Supreme Court will deliver the long-awaited justice on this matter.
The challenges notwithstanding, we must continue to demand the expansion of Nigeria’s political space and not allow greedy political elites to shrink it. If we allow a situation where only a particular political class dominates our political system, we will inadvertently surrender ourselves to political homogeneity that favors order over diversity. We will be beating a retreat to an authoritarian disposition, where, as the behavioral economist, Karen Stenner, puts it, the ruling class becomes intolerant of complexity or libertarian ideals, which is the engine that drives democratic systems. Nothing is more authoritarian and undemocratic than a systematic suppression of a people’s desires, realities, and aspirations. Nevertheless, we will continue to fight this grave injustice for future generations unborn. Youth Party’s slogan and commitment is to “Shape The Future”. We will not relent!
We strongly condemn the gruesome attack on innocent worshipers in Owo. This evil and barbaric act should have no place in our country.
We urge the commander in Chief, the Governor of Ondo state, and the head of all our security agencies to leave no stone unturned until the perpetrators are found and brought to justice.
Additionally, those in authority must do much more to stop the bloodletting in our country. Too many people are killed needlessly, just as so many properties are destroyed. The state must wake up to its primary responsibility; which is the protection of lives and properties
Our prayers and best wishes are with those who have sustained various injuries from this attack and are struggling for their lives at the Federal Medical Center, Owo. Our condolences also go out to the families of the deceased. May the Almighty comfort their loved ones and grant them the fortitude to bear this painful loss.
On Monday May 30, 2022, The Supreme Court, Abuja led by Honorable Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, J.S.C., C.F.R.,unanimously dismissed an application brought by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the stay of execution of the judgment of the Court of Appeal which declared the purported de-registration of the Party illegal, null and void’.
Reacting to the Supreme Court’s decision, the National Publicity Secretary of the Youth Party, Mr Ayodele Adio said “we believe the application was calculated to hoodwink members of the public to believe the bias Electoral Body has a legal basis for its desperate attempt to exclude Youth Party from the 2023 electoral process. It was a part of the deliberate and desperate attempt to de-market our Party by making the general public believe the Party is unable to contest at the general elections in 2023.”
Additionally, Mr Adio said “the concurrent decisions of the Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal was declaratory in nature and an application to stay the execution of a subsisting declaratory Court judgment is unfounded in law. This principle of law has been established in a plethora of cases and was stated by Per Obaseki J.S.C in the case of Governor of Gongola State V. Tukur (1989) 4 N.W.L.R (592 at 602), wherein the Supreme Court held that:
“Also, a declaration simpliciter is a solemn affirmation of a state or status by a court. That in itself is a complete relief which is not executory. An order has to be executed before its anticipated execution can be stayed.”
The Youth Party Screening Committee, led by Mr Sope Durodola has successfully screened Mrs Tari Taylaur, Eti Osa 1, Lagos State House of Assembly Aspirant.
The screening was held on Saturday, 28 May 2022 at 11:00 am. Having engaged the aspirant on her background, party membership and proposed legislative agenda, the committee deemed her fit to contest under the flagship of the Party.
Tari Taylaur recently ran for a Councilorship seat in the last Lagos Local Government Elections in 2021 and she is currently the Chair for Ward A, Eti Osa local government – further evidence of her commitment to the Youth Party.
Mr Sope Durodola congratulated and saluted her courage stating that they had no doubt that she would make the Party proud. He also stated that she understands what the Party represents and stands for, hence she is more than a solid role model for the Youth Party.
The committee wished her all the best and assured her of the Party’s support as she partakes in the process.
Mrs Taylaur expressed her gratitude to the committee members and emphasised that there is an opportunity to build on the momentum that was gained during the last time she contested.
She stated that she was not discouraged to run because she really wants to make an impact in governance and the only way to do so is to be in a position of authority which can only be achieved through the polls.
The Youth Party Screening Committee, led by Mr. Sope Durodola has concluded its task, having successfully screened Chief Victoria Oluchi Farley Bradford, the Abia State Gubernatorial Aspirant.
The screening was held on Friday, 27th May, 2022 by 5:00 pm. The committee deemed her fit to contest under the flagship of the Party after a rigorous procedure.
Prior to the screening, curriculum vitae and documents were submitted by the aspirant and the committee considered party loyalty, track record, political ideology, campaign manifesto and integrity.
Chief Mrs Bradford has served in different capacities in Abia State governance.
She stated emphatically that in terms of transparent political leadership, she is not afraid of making a change because she is of the opinion that “when you are afraid to make change, then you are not ready to make change”.
She stated that her political ideologies in areas of education, agriculture, health, gender equality and respect for PLWDs. She mentioned that security, infrastructure, healthcare and job creation would be her priority.
She was thereafter cleared by the Screening committee and the screening certificate was presented.
She also expressed her satisfaction to the conduct of the exercise
In his seminal work “How Democracies Die”, Steven Levitsky pointed to an interesting but telling fact, which is that “democracies may die at the hands of not generals but of elected leaders who subvert the very process that brought them into power”. He further argued that the “tragic paradox of the electoral route to authoritarianism is that democracy’s assassins use the very institutions of democracy – gradually, subtly and even legally – to kill it”. In Nigeria’s case, it is the electoral umpire, led by Professor Mahmood Yakubu, whose actions (and inaction) are troubling the very foundation of our democratic system.
Although the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is an independent body backed by the constitution to conduct elections and regulate our political system, its operations, and its leadership are governed by laws. Therefore, the commission or its leadership cannot act in a manner that either contravenes the Electoral Act or contradicts the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Over the last few months, INEC has consistently signalled to the Nigerian people that only 18 political parties are legible (or will be allowed) to participate in the 2023 elections. What that presupposes is that there are only 18 political parties in Nigeria today that are duly registered.
Whereas, this couldn’t be much further from the truth. On October 12, 2020, a federal high court restrained INEC from excluding the Youth Party from participating in any election across the country. It declared INEC’s attempt to deregister the party as illegal, null and void. The dictum of Honourable Justice I.E. Ekwo of the federal high court in his judgment in Suit No.FHC/ABJ/CS/10/2020 between Youth Party v INEC is worth pondering over:
“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 the defendant has 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 the Defendant while this action is pending. The defendant must understand that the constitution is not an author of confusion. I condemn the action of the defendant as a wrong exercise of might. Therefore, the de-registration of the plaintiff during the pendency of this action by the defendant is illegal, null and void, and liable to be set aside. Consequently, I hereby make an order setting aside the de-registration of the plaintiff.”
Furthermore, on May 11, 2021, the court of appeal in a unanimous judgment delivered by Hon. Justice T.Y. Hassan dismissed the appeal of INEC and upheld the decision of the lower court. The honourable court in its judgment reaffirmed that the purported deregistration of the Youth Party is illegal, null and void. The court of appeal in its judgement in appeal No. CA/ABJ/CV/980/2020 Between INEC v Youth Party was equally unhappy with INEC in its unanimous judgment delivered by Honourable Justice T.Y. Hassan, J.C.A., when it held that:
“This court will not hesitate to sustain the decision of the lower court which pulled down and dismantled the edifice that the appellant built on self-help when it deregistered the respondent not only during the pendency of the suit but when it had been served with and had reacted to the motion for interlocutory injunction seeking to restrain the appellant from the very act it helped itself to actualize extra judicially. To say the least, we find the appellant’s action very reprehensible, the lower court as any court of law would have done, acted correctly by setting aside the deregistration of the respondent. We have no reason to interfere with the order made by the lower court and same be sustained.”
Even worse is that INEC itself admitted this much in a notice of appeal to the supreme court where in its particulars of the misdirection, it noted that “the learned lower court of appeal fell into misdirection when they sustained the injunctive order granted by the trial court against the appellant and upheld the nullification and setting aside of the deregistration of the respondent”. If INEC admits that the court indeed set aside its purported deregistration, why is INEC blatantly refusing to obey the decision? Secondly, can a declarative court of appeal judgement be stayed? Or is Yakub Mahmood simply above the law?
That INEC continues to demonstrate complete disregard for the rule of law and judicial decisions is a deep fracture in our nascent democracy with grave consequences for the 2023 elections. This is because if a duly registered political party is deliberately excluded from participating in the general election, the court/tribunal is bound to nullify the election given the judicial precedent set in the case of ANDP v INEC 2020. Hence, Professor Mahmood Yakub may be attempting to kill the democratic institution he was appointed to safeguard to appease his oversized ego. We must all place a demand on the chairman of INEC to either respect the rule of law or respectfully vacate office as his position can no longer be tenable after violating the constitution and rule of law.
When people think about authoritarianism, they often imagine a brutal military dictator who is intolerant of dissenting views or civil society. Although this view is mostly right, what they never consider is that democratic governments can also be predisposed to authoritarianism. Authoritarianism in this case, as the Historian, Anne Applebaum, puts it, is anti-pluralist. Iit is suspicious of people with different ideas. It is allergic to fierce debates.” But most profoundly, Ms Applebaum views this predisposition to authoritarianism as a frame of mind and not a set of ideas.
Perhaps, it was this frame of mind that inspired an anti-democratic comment from the chairman of the Senate Committee on INEC, Senator Kabiru Gaya, in October 2019 when he argued that “we need to amend the (Electoral) Act to reduce the political parties to a maximum of five. This committee is really committed to reducing the number of political parties to save taxpayers money.” Beyond the absurdity of a partisan member of the National Assembly proposing to shrink the political space in the interest of taxpayers’ money, is the cognitive dissonance that he demonstrates. Because in reality, the biggest culprits of misappropriation and abuse of taxpayers’ money are politicians who are obese from feeding fat on public funds.
Unfortunately, Senator Gaya’s anti-pluralist disposition is not the exception but the rule. It is a mindset that is shared by a majority of Nigeria’s political elite, amplified by the media houses they control, and legitimised by a litany of civil society organisations that feed on their table. It explains why, in spite of an Appeal Court judgment restraining it otherwise, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), led by Professor Mahmood Yakubu, is deliberately and unconstitutionally excluding the Youth Party from participating in the 2023 general elections. For these political elites, what they cannot control must not be tolerated. Hence, to maintain their hold on power, they are attempting to constrict the political space to deny the remote or likely possibility of the emergence of a credible alternative.
The only way that a political class can maintain its hold on power, after pauperising the middle class, vandalising our value system, vulgarising our institutions, and devaluing the lives of citizens, is to, first, perpetuate a system that stifles the growth of political parties with ideas and a genuine moral compass. The second is to raise the barrier of entry into the political class by monetising the process, such that only those with access to state resources (and their cronies) can contest and win elections. Thirdly, is a calculated effort at state capture, where they control the institutions of restraint and dissent, like the media, civil society, and the judiciary. These elites know that as long as they can hoodwink Nigerians to believe that ‘underperforming’ political parties are to be deregistered, or that the country only needs less than five political parties, their hold on power is mostly assured.
How can smaller political parties ‘perform’ when it is a known fact that State Independent Electoral Commissions are not truly independent? They are led and mostly populated by persons that are openly sympathetic to the ruling political party. Can the media or civil society organisations in Nigeria deny knowledge of this unfortunate subjugation of the people’s electoral will? Or have they simply come to terms with it as the norm? But for the intervention of the Senate, did President Buhari not nominate Lauretta Onochie, a member of his political party, as a Federal Commissioner in INEC? How can small political parties compete when the electoral system has been so monetised that citizens now commodify their votes? And when they tell people to join political parties that can win elections, how do those persons secure nominations when the cost of forms and internal party politicking is priced beyond the reach of 95 per cent of its membership? It’s a complete joke and we must call it out for what it is.
The challenges notwithstanding, we must continue to demand for the expansion of Nigeria’s political space and not allow greedy political elites to shrink it. If we allow a situation where only a particular political class dominates our political system, then we will inadvertently surrender ourselves to political homogeneity – one that favours order over diversity. We will be beating a retreat to an authoritarian disposition, where, as the behavioural economist, Karen Stenner, puts it, the ruling class become intolerant of complexity or libertarian ideals which is the engine that drives democratic systems.
Worth noting, finally, is that political parties are not merely set up to win elections. Political parties are often an organised response of a group of persons to local, regional, or nation realities that threaten their identity, ways of life, or livelihoods. Just like the emergence of the Workers Party in Brazil or the Pirates Party in Europe, set up to defend digital rights, political parties are a reflection of the desires and aspirations of a group of people. Therefore, to deny citizens the right to form and grow political parties is to deny such persons the right to project and defend a group interest. There is nothing more authoritarian and undemocratic that a systematic suppression of a people’s desires, realities, and aspirations.
The Youth Party has inaugurated four (4) committees to oversee relevant structures for its primary elections in preparation for the forthcoming 2023 elections. The four (4) Committees include Screening Committee, Screening Appeal Committee, Primary Election Committee and Primary Election Appeal Committee.
The inauguration of the Screening Committee and Primary Election Committee was held on Monday 16th May 2022 while the National Screening Appeal Committee and National Primary Election Committee inauguration took place on Tuesday 17th May 2022. A total of 30 persons have been inaugurated to serve in various capacities.
Mr Tomiwa Aladekomo, the National Chair, charged the committee members to discharge their duties diligently and patriotically. He added that they should always refer to the Youth Party Primary Elections Guidelines and Terms of Reference for each committee in the discharge of their duties.
Mr Wale Irokosu, a member of the Board of Trustees admonished the committee members to discharge their duties without fear or favour while The National Organising Secretary, Mr Segun Adeniyi thanked them for taking out time for this continued dedicated service to our country Nigeria.
The National Screening Committee Chair, Mr Sope Durodola expressed his gratitude to members of the committee for accepting to serve and also appreciated the Party for the opportunity to serve. In his acceptance remarks, he specified that they would start work in earnest and promised not to take the task ahead with levity. The other members include Mr Mujaheed Ahmad, Mr Obinna Onunkwo, Mr Bolaji Ogalu, Mrs Iyadunni Gbadebo, Mr Jameel Disu, Mrs Dayo Ademola and Mr Tamunosa Jumbo.
Ms Aisha Modibo, Chair of the Screening Appeal Committee expressed her commitment on behalf of her committee to uphold democratic values and the democratic process in the discharge of their assignment. She will be working with Mr Lanre Sorinola, Mr Deolu Dara, Mr Obinna Ogah, Mr Seyi Oluwamayokun, Mr Justice Ekom, Ms Feso Adeniji and Mr Abiodun Olaore as members of the committee.
Mrs Anna Ekeledo, the Chair of the Primary Election Committee in her comments stated that she is fully committed to serving with other members which include: Mr Kevwe Okpobia, Mr Shina Dada, Alh Abba Najib Iliyas, Mr Kunle Arole, Mr Iwalewa Jacobs, Mr Fred Oyetayo and Mr Aliyu Adamu. She also declared that the Primary Election will not be run as usual but they would work as a team so as to set standards for other political parties. In her statement, the Youth Party will be making use of electronic voting for this process and would also ensure that the election is free and fair which will continue to build the confidence of our Party members.
Dr Umar Muhammad, the Chair of the Election Appeal Committee mentioned that this is a national call and he is ready and willing to serve the Party to the best of his ability. Committee members are Mr Sadiq Abu, Mr Olaide Agboola, Mr Onyekachi Okorie, Ms Helen Attah and Ms Damilola Ogunsanya.
Mr Seun Sule, Chair, Board of Trustees congratulated the newly inaugurated members and encourage them to meet all our expectations as a Party and wished them all the best.
The Youth Party Primary Elections for Presidential, Governorship, Senate, House of Representatives and State Houses of Assembly have been slated for 30th and 31st May 2022. The National Working Committee approved this in its meeting on Sunday 1st May 2022.
Ayodele Adio National Publicity Secretary, Youth Party