CIVIC LIBERTIES, CONSTITUTIONALISM
AND DEMOCRATIC DEVELOPMENT
By His Excellency
Malam Abdulkadir Balarabe Musa,
First Civilian Governor, Kaduna State, 1979/'81
Press Statement by National Chairman of the People’s Redemption Party (PRP), Alhaji Abdulkadir Balarabe Musa, on the judgement of the Abuja High Court nullifyingand voiding INEC’s purported deregistration of the PRP. February 3, 2016 news, press
The litmus test for a democratic and civilized society lies in the extent to which it respects the civic liberties of its citizenry and the degree to which its institutions abide with the basic tenets of constitutionalism.
When in July, 2012 the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced the purported unilateral deregistration of the PRP along with a few other political parties, it was unmistakably clear to us that the Commission was, by that very act, waving the red flag not only to constitutionalism in Nigeria but to the civic liberties of the citizenry. Not only were the political parties that the INEC purported to have de-registered not invited to defend themselves on their alleged “transgressions” of the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) which it was claimed they had violated, but the very action of deregistration by INECwas itself a blatant abuse of the constitutionally-guaranteed rights of freedom of association.
In the light of previous court judgements (including even the Supreme Court) over similar cases, it was intriguing that INEC would resort to such a palpably unconstitutional and undemocratic action.Consequently, it is difficult to come to any other conclusion than that INEC was merely acting on a script already composed by their political masters, whomsoever they may be.
In the circumstance, we in the PRP had no other option but to challenge INEC’s purported deregistration of our party in the courts. We are happy to note and to inform the Nigerian public in general, and particularly the teeming millions of our supporters and sympathizers across the country,that the Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja and presided by Hon. Justice AFA Ademola on 17th December, 2015 upheld our contention that INEC’s purported de-registration exercise was indeed illegal, unconstitutional and void. The courts also directed INEC to restore all our rights and to continue to deal with us as a political party in Nigeria.
On behalf of our party, the PRP, I am attaching the full text of Hon. Justice Ademola’s judgement to this statement for the guidance and perusal of supporters and all Nigerians interested in the democratic development of this country.
Our legal victory at the Abuja High Court is a victory not only for us as plaintiffs. It is a victory for all Nigerians who believe in the rule-of-law, in constitutionalism, in the civil liberties of the citizenry and the just and progressive democratic development of Nigeria. In the murky horizon of judicial malfeasance in Nigeria, Hon. Justice Ademola has shown that the judiciary can still live up to the high expectations of Nigerians.
As for PRP members, supporters and sympathizers across the country, my message is simple: buckle up for the urgent struggles ahead. Already, plans are advanced towards the rejuvenation of party organs and the expansion of our membership base. All these new measures will be publicly unfolded very soon. Our struggle is a struggle we are committed to waging by all lawful means, whether through electoral activities or otherwise, and in whatever circumstance we find ourselves.
Since the 1983 National Elections, when the NPN was declared the winner in a so-called landslide victory, the PRP realised that there would be no free and fair election leading to a legitimate government at any level in Nigeria for a long time to come and, therefore, resolved to transform itself into both a political movement and an electoral party: meaning that it will continue the protracted struggle for change in the economic and political system controlling all development in the country and the political leadership created by it, whether or not it can contest elections or not. Later the provisions of the 1999 constitution of the Federal republic of Nigeria further legitimized and strengthened this resolve. Our objective is the socialist transformation of Nigeria, starting with the leading role of the state in the economy to ensure peace, equality, justice, the dignity of the human person and progressive, even development of the country. On this mission we shall forever stand, until victory is attained.