Just when the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is getting so busy preparing for the 2019 general elections, they have been accused of killing democracy in Nigeria.

The accusation is coming from the Nigeria Advance Party (NAP), who among other political parties was de-registered in 2012 by INEC.

NAP are not happy that they will not be taking part in the 2019 general elections, they want INEC to give them a chance, but one of the demands of the commission is that they register NAP as a new political party.

In 2012, the commission had announced its decision, saying it was done in exercise of the powers conferred on it by the amended versions of the 1999 Constitution and the Electoral Act 2010.

However, INEC was taken to court by the National Conscience Party (NCP) and the decision challenged in the Court of Appeal with suit No. CA/L/414/2013.

NAP is claiming that the court have ruled in favour of NCP and ordered a perpetual injunction on INEC from further disbanding or de-registering National Conscience Party or any political party including the Nigeria Advance Party.

Speaking on Thursday in Lagos on the occasion of the NAP’s 40th anniversary, national leader of the Nigeria Advance Party, Olaoluwa Branco-Rhodes, who is the daughter of the founder - Tunji Braithwaite, said by the court judgment, INEC is deemed to have never de-registered any political party and is therefore in breach of the law to continue to hold on to the purported de-registration.

“In this pseudo democracy, the weakness of INEC as an institution, makes it the strongest threat to our democracy and our continued corporate existence as a nation.

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“Like statute, the judgement of court is law and binding. It is judicial precedent. INEC cannot insist that political parties should head back to court, individually or one-by-one, on a matter that has been decided, judgement delivered and has become res judicata.

“If this kind of impunity is not swiftly and decisively dealt with, it has the potential to throw the nation into chaos and turmoil.” She said.

Olaoluwa Branco-Rhodes added that “INEC’s decision is not only contemptuous of said judgement of court, it is also a dangerous development for our democracy, that the electoral body would hold the judgement of court in such flagrant odium.

“We maintain that the 2019 general elections shall be perceived as already compromised if INEC continues to deny a party like NAP the right to participate in the 2019 general elections.”

NAP says they are still alive, 40 years strong, and want to compete for political offices in Nigeria come 2019, but with the conclusion of the party primaries, will INEC listen to their demand?

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