Group Sues INEC over Non-registration of Political Party

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A new political association, the Democratic Peoples Congress (DPC), has taken  the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to court, accusing it of unduly delaying its request for registration as a political party.
Addressing journalists yesterday in Abuja, the Interim National Publicity Secretary of DPC, Mr. Chinedu Onyema, said the association had fulfilled all the prerequisite constitutional and statutory conditions for registration as a political party.
Onyema, who read out the communique of the Interim National Executive Committee (NEC) of DPC, said INEC should immediately issued the group with a certificate of registration.
“NEC vehemently frowned at the delay tactics being employed by INEC to conclude the process of registration of the party,” he said.
While expressing the belief of the group in a strong, responsible and competitive political party system, DPC urged INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, to tow the path of honour and release its certificate of registration in the interest of peace and justice.
INEC  had in a letter to the DPC, dated  November 19, 2013, and signed by the Director of Election and Party Monitoring, Bala Shittu, declined further actions on the application given reasons of improper documentation and failure to meet other requirements for registration.
The commission’s stated: “Having reviewed all submissions in support of of your application for party registration, the commission observed that your association criteria for membership as well as inaccurate description of the logo and flag in the constitution of the group are improper. And in view of this, the commission is hereby terminating further consideration of your request.”
According to him, DPC, on getting the commission’s observation, immediately made the corrections and resubmitted the relevant documents back to INEC.
He said INEC had acknowledged the resubmission of the group’s corrected documents and promised to continue the processing of the application.
However, Onyema explained that INEC’s position not to register the group was only communicated to the group, after the 30 days mandatory period had expired, hence the decision of DPC to challenge the denial of registration in court.
Also speaking at the press conference, the Legal Counsel to the group, Mr. Ezekiel Vem Ofou, said the commission had violated the relevant section of the Electoral Act, dealing with the duration of application for party registration.
“The stage where are now is that we have fulfilled all the requirements for registration including the payment of the mandatory fee and INEC has inspected our office,” he said.
He said the group was surprised that after the expiration of the mandatory time frame of 30 days, INEC still had not issued the group with registration certificate.
Ofou said it was after the group had written to the commission that it replied that it could not register the association because of some documents that were not properly presented.
He also said even when the group tried to clear issues on the observations raised but that INEC  still insisted on not registering it, hence its decision to approach the court for adjudication.
The group in its communiqué also commented on political developments in the country, especially the brewing crisis in Rivers State, condemning the what it described as sustained onslaught on the rule of law and worsening reign of impunity in the state.
It urged the federal government to be alive to its responsibilities of ensuring good governance, security of lives and property as well as the Welfare of the people.
It advised security agencies to avoid creating the impression that they are willing tools in the hands of narrow, selfish and unpatriotic interests in the society.
Some of the  national officers of the political association include,  National Chairman, Chief Sam Onimisi, National Secretary, Olusegun Peters and Treasurer, Musa Zubairu Dikko, while the head office of the group is located at Plot 366, Obafemi Awolowo Way, Jabi, Abuja.
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