By Sunday Isuwa, Abuja
Ahead of the 2019 general elections, about 90 groups have applied to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) seeking registration as political parties, LEADERSHIP Weekend can reveal.
The large number of groups thronging the INEC headquarters for registration might not be unconnected with the crisis being experienced in various political parties in the country, sources say.
Last year, Nigeria had about 30 political parties following the deregistration of 10, but the number has now risen to 40 following the registration of 10 new political parties.
The new political parties recently registered by INEC include: Better Nigeria Progressive Party (BNPP), Democratic Alternative (DA), Masses Movement of Nigeria (MMN), National Action Council (NAC) and National Democratic Liberty Party (NDLP).
Others are Nigeria Elements Progressive Party (NEPP), National Unity Party (NUP), Nigeria Peoples Congress (NPC), Peoples Progressive Party (PPP) and Peoples Redemption Party (PRP).
INEC has confirmed accepting 90 more applications from associations seeking to be registered as political parties ahead of the 2019 general elections.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with LEADERSHIP Weekend, INEC’s spokesman, Mr Rotimi Oyekanmi, said even though political parties are supposed to be important vehicles in Nigeria’s democracy, only those who meet the requirements would be registered.
“Yes the number of applications for registration as political parties now stands at 90,” Oyekanmi said.
On whether there is a plan by INEC to deregister other political parties before the 2019 general elections, Oyekanmi said no.
“INEC has supervisory roles over political parties; the practice is not to apply the mallet all the time.
“While the commission has the power to deregister political parties over very serious infractions, this is mostly a last resort action after all other actions have failed,” he explained.