The Independent National Electoral Commission INEC has moved to lower the numbers of registered political parties in the country.
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INEC lamented the growing numbers of political parties, describing majority of them as ‘commercial’.
The electoral body’s National Commissioner in charge of Information and Voter Education, Barr. Festus Okoye stated these at the weekend in Makurdi, Benue state capital during the state-level review of the 2029 General elections.
According to Okoye, “Nigerians must engage in root and branch review of the number of registered parties in Nigeria. The present framework for the registration of political parties is inadequate to guarantee the registration of qualitative, membership driven and ideologically propelled political parties. Some of the Political Parties are mere platforms and have no concrete and visible presence in most States of the Federation.
“The presence of too many political parties on our ballot papers has in some instances confused some of out compatriots that are not well endowed in literacy. It has bloated the ballot papers and result sheets and trucking them to the polling units has become a logistics nightmare”.
“The Commission will present alternatives to the Nigerian people including alteration of the constitutional regime that ties registration of Political Parties to visible, verifiable and concrete presence and structures in at least half of the States of the federation. The Commission will also propose a rational and democratic threshold for getting on the ballot and save the Nigerian people the phenomena of “also ran”.
“The Commission will also propose further alteration of the conditions for the deregistration of Political Parties as the 4th Alteration to the Constitution is inadequate to weed out dormant and commercial platforms with little or no visible structures and presence in any of the States of the Federation. The Nigerian people need Political Parties that can bid for political power and not mere commercial platforms for hire”, he added.
“The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission has flagged off conversation relating to the number and quality of Political Parties in Nigeria. Presently, there are 91 registered Political Parties in Nigeria and 73 of the said Political Parties fielded candidates for the 2019 Presidential elections. As at the time the commission suspended registration of new Political Parties before the 2019 general elections, 11 associations have paid the one-million-naira administrative fee for registration.
“Out of the 11, one (Boot Party) was formally advised that its application failed but later the Commission was informed by the Legal Department that the said Party has been registered through the instrumentality of the Court. Another 3 of the 11 were making corrections to their applications. Another 3 of the 11 were awaiting verification visit from the commission. Four of the 11 were yet to return their application Form PA. Additionally, since the conclusion of the 2019 Elections , 3 new associations have applied to be registered as Political Parties, thus joining the 79 associations that failed initial assessment of the suitability of their proposed names and or logos.”