By Kehinde Osasona
The Youth Party of Nigeria (YPN) got respite on Monday as a Federal High Court in Abuja reversed the decision by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to de-register it.
The judgment was on a suit filed by the Youth Party, marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/10/2020. INEC is the sole defendant in the matter.
The trial judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo held that INEC acted in breach of the political party’s right to a fair hearing when it announced the Youth Party’s de-registration during the pendency of a case the party filed against INEC’s earlier threat to de-register it.
Justice Ekwo held that although INEC is empowered under Section 255(a) of the Constitution to de-register political parties, such power must be exercised lawfully.
The judge affirmed further that while the suit was filed in January 2020, INEC announced the de-registration of the plaintiff on February 6, 2020.
Justice Ekwo described as arbitrary the manner the defendant threatened to de-register the plaintiff and the manner it went about de-registering the plaintiff.
He held, “I condemn the action of the defendant in de-registering the plaintiff while its case was pending,”
“INEC’s decision to de-register the plaintiff during the pendency of the case amounted to an arbitrary exercise of powers,” he added.
After granting the plaintiff’s relief, the Judge proceeded to grant an order restraining INEC from de-registering the plaintiff until it (Youth Party) is given equal opportunity to participate in the 2023 general elections.