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INEC Seeks Mandate To Reduce Number Of Political Parties



INEC Boss, Mahmood Yakubu

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is making plans for a proposal for the alteration of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, to enable it reduce the number of political parties in the country.

The commission’s national commissioner on information and voter’s education, Festus Okoye, in an address in Makurdi, Benue state, said the plethora of political parties had created a logistics nightmare during the 2019 elections, ThisDay reports.

One of our sources gathers that the commission lamented over the number of political parties; stating that the situation caused it to design very long ballot papers which confused many voters, particularly the less educated, during the elections.

According to the electoral commission, illiterate voters will continue to be put at a dilemma if the situation persists.

Okoye said INEC is pushing for amendments to the constitution and review of guidelines on party registration and de-registration in order to empower it to tighten up the registration process and de-list parties that were “mere platforms” for political jobbers.

There are currently 91 registered political parties in Nigeria and 73 of them fielded candidates for the 2019 presidential election.

INEC expressed dissatisfaction with the extant registration regime; stating that this has led to the nation’s electoral process being saddled with an unwieldy number of parties.

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Okoye said INEC would present a new alteration to the constitution that will enable it de-register political parties, as part of the overhauling of its registration process.

He said: “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 our 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.’

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“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.”

Okoye said Nigerians need political parties that can bid for political power, and not mere commercial platforms for hire.

Recall that previously reported that INEC was reminded by Femi Falana, SAN, that it had wide powers to de-register political parties that fail to scale some minimum electoral tests.

The human rights lawyer said the number of political parties will be cut from 91 to less than 10, if the rules are applied.

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