Posted by News Express | 3 December 2019 | 460 times
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has started verification of the presence of the 92 registered political parties in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
It was feared that the exercise might be the process of deregistering some of political parties that have failed to meet the requirements.
Nigeria at the moment has 92 political parties, which most Nigerians said make the electoral process too unwieldy.
INEC has set up eight teams of its Election and Party Monitoring (EPM) department to verify the 92 registered political parties.
Musa Husunu, deputy director in the EPM department, who led a team to the national headquarters of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) on verification exercise, said there are six criteria which INEC expects from every registered political party.
“I want to outline why we are here, even though we sent a letter to you. I want to state what and what are required for the verification.
“First, there is evidence of headquarters in the FCT because it is one of the criteria. A political party must have office in any of the Area Councils in the FCT.
“Second is the five copies of the constitution of the party. Then we also have list of NWC members, then membership register, then, book of account.
“The next thing is that we have to go round and ensure that from the chairman down the ladder, there is physical presence of offices for NWC members,” Husunu stated.
He disclosed that other teams have been sent to other political parties for the same purpose.
Beside an office in Abuja, a registered political party is also expected to have offices in two-third of the 36 states of the country.
It is not known if INEC would as well send teams to verify the number of parties that met these criteria.
Chairman of the Senate Committee on INEC, Kabiru Gaya, recently said there were plans by the National Assembly to deregister about 85 political parties before the 2023 general election.
Gaya said that parties should have qualification before they could register or continue to exist.
Gaya said: “Actually, we are going to deregister almost 85 political parties because they are unqualified.
“They don’t even have a councillor or a House of Assembly member; so all those parties should be deregistered….”
The Senate had, recently, said that it would reduce the number of political parties participating in elections in the country from the current 92 to five through legislation.
The Senate stated this at a meeting in October 2019 with the leadership of INEC led by its chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, in the National Assembly, Abuja.
Meanwhile, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has called on INEC to initiate a bill in the National Assembly for the amendment of the Electoral Act to allow for electronic voting.
PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, who spoke yesterday when he received an INEC team on verification exercise at the party’s headquarters, regretted the violence associated with the conduct of elections in Nigeria in recent time.
Secondus, who decried that INEC and the All Progressives Congress (APC), have been unable to grow electoral process in the country, said despite court ruling; the military is still involved in the conduct of elections.
“The ruling APC, unlike the PDP, is not disposed to any electoral law that will prevent them from manipulating the system.
“We in PDP expect INEC to be at the forefront of the process to have legal framework for the conduct of free, fair and credible elections.
“Such legal framework should address the issue of security, electronic voting and collation of results and punishment for electoral offenders,” he said.
The PDP National Chairman said the law would remove the influence of the military as primary security on the Election Day.
According to him, the military has not only taken over the primary security role from the police, but in some instances, allegedly dictated and connived with some INEC officials to rig elections.
“Nigerians have watched how the electoral body, unable to control the military, relinquished their responsibility to them and still curiously went ahead to authenticate such fraud,” Secondus stated.
He reminded INEC officials that the survival and sustenance of the nation’s democracy rest squarely on the integrity of the electoral commission, “which will derive from the character and the impartiality of its operatives.”
“The effect of bad elections in our polity has been far reaching, stagnating the political and economic development and permanently hoisting on the people unpopular and incompetent leaders.
“The tension and uncertainty in the country today is clearly a fallout of election mishap in February.
“Free, fair and credible election is exactly what PDP and, indeed, global democracy demand and expect from INEC,” he said.
He noted that PDP’s attacks on INEC were because some officials of the commission were unable to detach their interest.
The PDP National Chairman said that the party has been vindicated as evidenced from the last general election, the preceding governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun states and the November 16 gubernatorial elections in Bayelsa and Kogi states.”
Leader of the team, Musa Husunu, deputy director in the Election and Party Monitoring (EPM), said INEC is conducting verification exercise on the 92 registered political parties in the country.
Husunu, who apologized for the absence of the leader of the team, Mustafa Lecky, a National Commissioner due to ill-health, said there are outlined criteria for the verification exercise.
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