The Youth Party won a resounding victory in its bid to ensure that Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) respects the rule of law particularly obedience of judicial decisions.
The Court of Appeal, Abuja, led by Honourable Justice T.Y. Hassan, delivered its unanimous judgement against the Appeal filed by INEC on May 11, 2021.
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 ’.
The Court of Appeal also “found the action of the Appellant very reprehensive”.
The judgement at the lower Court was based on the INEC persistent disregard for the law and judicial decisions in failing to register the Party within time stipulated in the law and preventing it from participating in elections illegally. The Electoral umpire 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 that 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.”