The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court has directed the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to register Socialist Party of Nigeria as a new party.
Justice Gabriel Kolawole gave the order in a judgement on Tuesday, following an application by members of the party.
He said the SPN had fulfilled necessary requirements for registration and directed INEC to issue it a certificate of registration within 30 days from the date of his judgement.
Representatives of the SPN had approached the court after INEC terminated its registration process in August 2014 for alleged failure to comply with verification procedures.
The plaintiffs: Segun Sango, Chinedu Bosah, Mikaliu Mohammed, Emmanuel Adikwu, Agbebire Marcellus and Nuhu Zira, asked the court to nullify the termination of their registration, stressing that they had complied with necessary registration procedure including the payment of N1 million, establishment of a headquarter in Abuja and the creation of a National Executive Committee comprising at least 24 representatives from across the country and Abuja.
They asked the court to stop INEC from further collecting a mandatory N1 million from parties seeking to be registered for political activities.
The plaintiffs also demanded a refund of the N1 million they had paid to INEC, as well as N1 million to serve as the cost of instituting the suit.
The judge agreed with some of the requests made by the plaintiff, namely that the registration of SPN as a political party be restored by INEC.
Mr. Kolawole ruled that INEC was bound by sections 78, (2) (3) and (4) to proceed with necessary steps for the registration of a political party within the stipulated time, adding that the electoral umpire had no right to carry out its constitutional powers according to the whims and caprices of its chairman.
“INEC is not permitted to exercise its statutory powers according to the predilection and the whims of its chairman and/or principal management officers in the discharge of its duties of political party registration and monitoring”.
Mr. Kolawole however refused the application by the SPN for a refund of their registration fees. He also rejected the application for compensation.