The Supreme Court on Friday upheld the de-registration of 22 political parties by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The 22 parties were among the 74 INEC deregistered on February 6, 2020, for being unable to win any political office in the last general elections held in 2019.
In upholding the action of the electoral body, Justice Ejembi Eko, set aside a judgment of the Court of Appeal, Abuja division, which earlier nullified the de-registration of the political parties.
INEC had challenged the Appeal Court judgment nullifying its de-registeration of the political parties at the Supreme Court.
Justice Eko, ruling on the matter, held that the Court of Appeal on its own raised the issue of lack of fair hearing in favour of the 22 scrapped parties and arrived at a conclusion without hearing from other parties in the matter.
Consequently, he upheld the appeal by INEC as being meritorious and allowed.
The Supreme Court held that the Court of Appeal took the issue of fair hearing out of the contemplations of the notice of appeal filed by the political parties, but refused to do the needful in order to be fair to others in the matter.
Specifically, the Supreme Court said that the Court of Appeal erred in law by raising the issue of fair hearing in favour of the political parties and declined to give an opportunity to other respondents to address it on the matter, in order to arrive at a just conclusion.
Justice Eko said that proceeding to give judgment in such a situation, as done by the Court of Appeal, ran afoul of the pillar of the same fair hearing and as such, its findings and conclusion could stand.