By Chibuzo Ukaibe, Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday disclosed that it is currently processing 103 applications from associations seeking to become political parties.
Noting that it received six applications last week, INEC added that 54 associations have failed the initial assessment mainly because their proposed names or logos are similar with existing political parties or associations.
The INEC chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, who revealed this during the issuance of certificates to five newly registered political parties in Abuja, however, warned that the commission will not hesitate to deregister political parties who violate the laws governing the terms and conditions of their registration.
The new parties are Action Democratic Party (ADP), All Democratic People’s Movement (ADPM), Advanced People’s Democratic Alliance (APDA), New Generation Party of Nigeria (NGP) and the Young Progressive Party (YPP), which brings the number of political parties in Nigeria to 45.
Giving a breakdown on the status of other political association seeking registration, Yakubu said, “As at last week, we had ninety-five (95) applications out of which five (5) have fulfilled the requirements for registration while three (3) associations voluntarily withdrew their applications, bringing the total to 87 applications.
“Since then, we have received six (6) more applications. This means that the Commission is currently processing 103 applications. Out of this number, 6 associations are currently undergoing the initial assessment of their logos, names, acronyms and other legal requirements for registration; 33 associations have passed the Initial assessment and advised to proceed with the necessary documentation in support of their applications; 10 associations have passed the initial assessment, submitted the necessary documentation and the Commission is currently verifying their submissions.
“Finally, 54 associations have failed the initial assessment due mainly to the similarity of their proposed names or logos with existing political parties or associations. I want to assure you that the Commission will continue to give expeditious consideration to all applications in line with the requirements of the law”.
The INEC chairman noted that the commission will continue to strictly monitor the activities of all political
parties and will not hesitate to apply sanctions against any violation of the law governing the terms and conditions of your registration.
“As we approach some of the outstanding bye-elections, the three governorship elections in Anambra, Ekiti and Osun States and ultimately the 2019 general elections, the commission will pay special attention to the conduct of political parties as well as their candidates and supporters. Hate speech and other violations of the electoral acts attract appropriate sanctions under the law”, he stated.
He assured all political parties that the commission will continue to consult them as major partners in the electoral process.
He welcomed the five new political parties, even even he told them not to consider their registration as an end in itself.
Yakubu said, “Rather, registration should be an opportunity to exercise the critical role of political parties in the best interest of our growing democracy. To this end, I wish to assure you of the Commission’s continued cooperation in promoting the growth of all political parties in Nigeria.
“I wish to remind all political parties that the law also provides for de-registration of parties. We shall vigorously apply this aspect of the law as the need arises