On Friday, May 7, 2021, the Supreme Court upheld the deregistration of a political party, National Unity Party (NUP) by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The Supreme Court decision followed from a suit filed by the NUP at the Federal High Court in Abuja, challenging its deregistration as a political party along with 73 others by INEC, purporting to act in line with section 225A of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. INEC’s decision to deregister political parties in February 2020 had stirred anger among several small parties, leading to their challenge of the deregistration. Some of the parties argued that the Nigerian Constitution entitles them to operate and that INEC should not deny them this right.
In the 2019 general elections, 91 political parties vied for several and differing offices. Election observers, INEC and several stakeholders worried about the logistics nightmare created. Ballot papers stretched into several foldable parts for some of the elections, causing smears and ink blurs on thumbprints. Several of the small parties hardly campaigned and their names caused confusion to voters. While plurality of political parties signifies a boisterous democracy, it also comes with its baggage of tasking election logistics and confusing voters’ decisioning.