INEC issues certificates to five newly registered parties
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, yesterday, issued certificates of registration to five new political parties that have met the criteria for transition from political associations to political parties.
With the registration of the 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), the number of political parties in Nigeria now stands at 45.
Chairman of the commission, professor Mahmood Yakubu, while performing the ceremony, said the five new political parties henceforth have equal status with all other political parties in Nigeria.
He said the Commission would extend to the new parties all the rights and privileges of recognised political parties under the Constitution, the Electoral Act as well as INEC regulations and guidelines.
“I wish to remind you that from today, you are no longer political associations but registered political parties. As you are aware, political parties are at the heart of our democracy. Under the Constitution, no Nigerian can contest an election conducted by lNEC, unless a political party sponsors he/she.
“Similarly, under the Constitution, you are registered to operate as national political parties. As such, you should remain committed to the politics of principles and development of the entire nation as articulated in your party constitutions and manifestos which you submitted along with your applications for registration” he said.
He urged the new political parties to eschew the politics of division, bitterness, mud-slinging and hatred even as he charged them to be inclusive in all their activities.
“On this note, let me also seize this opportunity to give an update on the status of other applications received from various associations for registration as political parties. 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”. He said.
Consequently, 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.
According to the commission, 54 associations have failed the initial assessment due mainly to the similarity of their proposed names or logos with existing political parties or associations.
Yakubu assured that the Commission would continue to give expeditious consideration to all applications in line with the requirements of the law. The Commission, he said, would 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 their registration, reminding 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”. He said adding that as time approaches for 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 assured all political parties that the commission would continue to consult them as major partners in the electoral process, pledging to also continue to work with the inter-Party Advisory Council llPAC in our shared commitment to improving the electoral process.