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We Will Still Register New Parties – INEC

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Following the deregistration of 74 political parties last week by the Independent National Electoral Communication (INEC), the commission has said that it won’t shut the door against  associations seeking for fresh registration as political parties.

INEC insisted that associations that will be seeking for registration as political parties must continuously meet the provision of section 225 A of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

According to the commission, such provision is not optional for any association that want to become or remain as a political party.

The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Fourth Alteration, No 9) Act, 2017 enacted on May 4, 2017, amended section 225 of the 1999 Constitution to empower INEC to de-register political parties on grounds of:

“a. breach of any of the requirements for registration; “b. failure to win at least twenty-five per cent of votes cast in- “i. one State of the Federation in a Presidential election; or“ii. one Local Government of the State in a Governorship election; “c. failure to win at least- “i. one ward in the Chairmanship election; “ii. one seat in the National or State House of Assembly election; or “iii. one seat in the Councillorship election.”

The commission after receiving a report of a committee setup to verify the performance of political parties in the 2019 general elections, deregisted 74 out of 92 political parties in the country.

LEADERSHIP reports that the only existing 17 political parties now in Nigeria are: Accord, AA, AAC, ADC, ADP, APC, APGA, APL, Labour Party, NNPP, NRM, PDP, PRP, SDP, YPP, Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) and Boot Party.

Speaking to LEADERSHIP, INEC national commissioner and chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, said that thecommission did not foreclose fresh registration of political parties.

“INEC  holds public trust and operates strictly within the confines of the law and the constitution. The registration and deregistration of political parties are constitutionally and legally circumscribed”.

“The Commission has the constitutional duty and obligation to register any association that meets the constitutional and legal requirements in sections 222-229 of the Constitution and sections 78-83 of the Electoral Act, 2010(as amended)”.

“Therefore, any association that meets the constitutional and legal threshold will be registered. The commission does not have the constitutional power to foreclose applications by interested political associations,” Okoye said.

The national commissioner said foreclosure of the timeframe for applications are a product of section 78(1) of the Electoral Act which makes it mandatory that applications for registration must be submitted to the Commission not later than six months before a general election.

“The Commission does not offer unsolicited advice or consultancy services to associations seeking for registration. The qualifying criteria for registration and submission of applications are clearly laid out in the Constitution and the Electoral Act. Our duty is to ensure and enforce compliance,” Okoye said.

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