An Appeals Court sitting in Lagos today has ruled against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over its policy of the de-registration of political parties if they are not successful in electoral contests.

The appeal judgment delivered today at the Second Appeals Court in Igbosere by Justice Iyisoba sets aside a Federal High Court judgment validating INEC's policy of de-registering political parties on basis of not winning elections.

One of the parties affected by this policy, the National Conscience Party (NCP), had challenged INEC in the Federal High Court in Lagos. But the presiding Justice Abang upheld INEC's policy against the affected parties.

Justice Abang ruled that INEC's adoption of section 78(7)(ii) of the Electoral Act 2010, which empowers INEC to de-register political parties, was appropriate and within the bounds of the law. However the NCP appealed the ruling.

The Appeal judgment today on "NCP CA/L/414/13 BTW:  NAT. CONSCIENCE PARTY, NCP & ANOR & NATIONAL ASSEMBLY OF THE FED REP OF NIG & ORS" declares INEC's use of the Electoral Act for de-registration of parties unconstitutional, null and void.

In ruling, Justice Iyisoba said it is not part of Nigeria's constitution that every political party must win election in order for it to operate as one.

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