Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Socialist Party of Nigeria Sues Electoral Commission Over Registration 

Written by Yetunde Ayobami Ojo
Nigerian Guardian

FOR allegedly refusing to issue registration certificate to the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN), it  has instituted a suit at the Federal High Court, Abuja  against National Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) demanding for a refund of N1 million registration fee among other reliefs.

    The party in its suit FHC/ABJ/CS/630/2014 is seeking an order of the court for a declaration that the registration of political parties in Nigeria is governed by the provisions of Section 222 to 229 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended and section 78, 79 and 80 of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended.

    SPN in its originating summon brought pursuant to Order 3 Rules 6 of the Federal High Court Civil Procedure Rules 2009, is praying for a declaration order that INEC outside its power based on the relevant provision relating to the registration of the plaintiffs political association as a political party when it purportedly terminated the plaintiffs registration after it has met the conditions stipulated under section 222 to 229 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.

    Also, the party is seeking an order of court for a declaration the “Court to compel the defendant to issue the Plaintiffs/Applicants political Association , socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) with certificate of registration having met all the requirements for registration as a political party as stipulated in the constitution

    “A declaration that Section 78(3) of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended which prescribes payment of N1 million by an association that applies for registration is not in conformity with the relevant provisions of Section 222 to 229 of the Constitution.”

The SPN therefore wants court to direct INEC to pay N1 million as cost of litigation.

  However, the party National Chairperson, Comerade Segun Sango while briefing pressmen in Lagos on the issue said the party wrote a letter to INEC demanding for the conditions that the association has to meet to transform into a political party under 1999 Constitution as amended.

    He said “on January 27, INEC responded to our letter with a terse response that only after the payment of the sum of N1 million called processing fee can our association receive the requested condition and information. Consequently, members of SPN arranged a public fund raising campaigns from members and supporters across the country to meet the financial demand of INEC. Eventually, SPN purchased First Bank cheque in the name of INEC for the requested purpose. When our members went to submit the photocopies of the document with which we effected payment of the said sum of N1 million.”

      The party also alleged that on June 12, 2014 SPN officially submitted an application for registration in response to INEC’s letter dated April 14,2014  but that INEC refused to issue a proper acknowledgment as specified in Section 78(2) of the Electoral Act as amended under bogus and untenable excuses.

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