As the countdown to the Anambra Governorship election slated for November 6th approaches, the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) has called on the leadership of the labour movement and pro-masses organizations, to defend democratic rights and support the struggle to re-register the SPN and other political parties and allow the working people to form a
As the countdown to the Anambra Governorship election slated for November 6th approaches, the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) has called on the leadership of the labour movement and pro-masses organizations, to defend democratic rights and support the struggle to re-register the SPN and other political parties and allow the working people to form a party of their choice and also to truly elect leaders without rigging and violence.
It also called on the leadership of the labour movement “to build a pan-Nigerian working masses political party as a vehicle for the working class and the masses, in general, to challenge the self-serving ruling elite and defeat it in order to form and run a government in the interest of the vast majority.”
In a press statement signed by its Acting National Chairman, Mr Abiodun Bamgboye and National Secretary, Mr Chinedu Bosah, on its struggle to re-validate the registration of the party and 21 others who are in court to seek redress, the SPN says,
“The real motive for the deregistration is the fact that the self-serving and corrupt bourgeois ruling elite want to dominate the political space (leaving it for only parties like APC and PDP) and deny the working masses of an alternative political party.
The matter between the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and 22 political parties including the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) which came up on Thursday, October 28, 2021 at the Supreme Court in Abuja, over what it called “the undemocratic deregistration of political parties,” has been adjourned to November 15, 2021.
The matter was adjourned partly because two political parties filed applications to join the suit. The INEC had gone to the apex court to challenge the judgment of the Court of Appeal which is in favour of the SPN and other deregistered political parties.
It claimed that INEC deregistered 23 political parties on “some ridiculous and undemocratic grounds”despite the fact that the parties had approached the Federal High Court in October 2019 and secured a valid order stopping the deregistration.
“INEC relied on an undemocratic clause (Section 225A) smuggled into the 1999 Constitution that states that political parties will be deregistered for not winning a seat in the parliament or executive position either at the local government, state or federal level during a general election or local government elections.
“This provision is absurd given the monumental monetization, rigging and violence that usually characterize elections and which make it difficult for small parties to win elections. Besides, the essence of politics and elections is not only tied to winning positions, it is to also mobilize citizens around a political program upon which to genuinely build a better society where the needs of the vast majority are guaranteed.”
The SPN argues that, “It is the self-serving bourgeois ruling elite who reduce politics to desperately winning elections in order to appropriate the collectively owned resources and continue these ruinous and anti-people policies.
“Justice Chikere Anwuli of the Federal High Court gave a judgment on Thursday, June 11, 2020, that reaffirmed the power of INEC to deregister thereby validating the undemocratic action of INEC not minding the fact that INEC had earlier desecrated her order against the deregistration of the affected parties.
“SPN and 21 other political parties challenged INEC deregistration and the judgment at the Appeal Court and Court of Appeal gave a judgement on August 10, 2020, that nullified the deregistration and ordered INEC to re-enlist and give recognition to the affected political parties. INEC has refused to obey the judgment and order of the Court of Appeal, though has challenged it at the Supreme Court. INEC’s action is not only undemocratic, it is executive recklessness that reflects the character of the bourgeois ruling elite.
“The affected political parties have been denied the right to participate in elections so far.
The party contends that, “What is at stake is clearly the genuine development of the country, something the ruling elite have failed woefully. As a matter of fact, the profit-first capitalist program and philosophy embraced by the successive governments stand in the way of viable and sustainable development of the country.”
NEC which says it will only deal with the 18 political parties for the Anambra election, declared last March that the status of the 74 deregistered parties remains invalid pending a final decision by the Supreme Court.
The commission had deregistered the parties in February 2020, after citing their failure to meet certain criteria listed in the constitution including winning at least 25 percent of the votes cast in one state in a presidential election or 25 percent of the votes cast in one local government area.
But some of the parties went to court to contest the commission’s decision.
In August, the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja said 22 of the parties were illegally deregistered.
This was after the same court earlier validated the power of INEC to deregister the parties while determining a case involving the National Unity Party (NUP).
Both the commission and the NUP headed to the Supreme Court in separate applications challenging the court judgements.
INEC Spokesperson Mr Festus Okoye, said in a statement that while the final verdict is being awaited, some of the parties deregistered have been writing the commission to inform it of their plans to conduct primary elections.
“The Commission will continue to recognize and deal with only the 18 registered political parties pending the final resolution and determination of the various appeals filed and pending before the Supreme Court,” Okoye said.
“Consequently, INEC will not monitor any purported primaries by any of the deregistered political parties and will not issue access code to or accept the list and particulars of candidates emanating from such primaries.”
He noted the conflicting judgements of the Court of Appeal and said it is “in the interest of the electoral process” for both matters to be consolidated before any action is taken.
“The electoral process will be better served through a final resolution of the issues in the deregistration of political parties. It will also enable the commission to stand on firm grounds rather than pick and choose which between two conflicting decisions it should obey,” Okoye said.