No longer FRESH: INEC deregisters Kris Okotie’s party, 27 others

by Isi Esene

The Independent National Electoral Commission yesterday deregistered 28 political parties including Fresh Party promoted by Pastor Kris Okotie.

Also on the list of deregistered parties are Balarabe Musa’s Peoples Redemption Party (PRP); the National Reformation Party (NRP), founded by the late nationalist, Anthony Enahoro; The National Advance Party of Dr. Tunji Braithwaite (NAP), as well as the Democratic Peoples Alliance (DPA) of ex-Finance Minister, Olu Falae.

In a statement signed and issued by the secretary to the commission, Abdullahi A. Kaugama, INEC said it acted in good faith and in accordance to the provisions of the 1999 Constitution as amended.

“In the exercise of the powers conferred on it by the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), the Independent National Electoral Commission has, today, Thursday, December 6, 2012, deregistered the following political parties: . .,” the statement read in part.

The reason for the party deregistration was not made clear to the public but it appears this has been communicated directly to the parties affected.

Kayode Idowu, spokesman to the INEC Chairman, Attahiru Jega spoke to newsmen yesterday night saying, “The statement is clear and the commission had contacted the affected political parties and they know the reasons for our action.”

There are speculations that the party licences were withdrawn due to their inability to win any electoral seat in the 2011 elections.

Former presidential aspirant, Tunji Braithwaite yesterday reportedly reacted to news of the deregistration saying, “I am not aware of the deregistration; and if it is true, they are wasting their time. It is a matter we shall address. We will not accept it. It is an interference with the fundamental rights of the Nigerian people.”

Balarabe Musa also said that the action of the electoral body would not stand. He said he was not told why his political party was deregistered.

“We have contempt for those who think they can kill PRP and what it stands for. We will rely on Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution to continue to function as a political party and also continue the struggle for democracy.

“This deregistration will not stand. In fact, it is the beginning of dictatorship in Nigeria by (Chairman of INEC, Prof Attahiru) Jega and it will not stand,” Musa said on the phone Thursday night.

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