Connect with us

Politics

2023: INEC Excludes 124 Parties From Participation

Published

on

No fewer than 124 political groups that applied for registration as political parties have been technically excluded from participating in the 2023 general elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission, Sunday PUNCH can confirm.

This, by implication, means that only the 18 parties that survived the commission’s last deregistration in 2020 will participate in the forthcoming elections.

Advertisement

It was reported on December 26, 2021, that 101 political associations had applied to the commission for registration. The Deputy Director, SERVICOM at INEC, Olayide Okuonghae, in his response to a Freedom of Information request sent by Sunday PUNCH, said the 101 associations applied between 2019 and December 14, 2021.

READ ALSO: INEC Gives Political Parties Deadline To Conduct Primaries

His response read in part, “In reference to your letter dated December 9, 2021, the commission wishes to inform you that from 2019 to December 14, 2021, a total of 101 political associations forwarded their letters of intent to be registered as political parties.”

Advertisement

 

Mr Rotimi Oyekanmi, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, confirmed the development to one of our correspondents in December, but noted that the commission could not reveal the names of the associations because they had not been approved as political parties.

It was, however, learnt that 23 more political associations applied for registration between December 14, 2021, and March 25, 2022.

Advertisement

An INEC interim report sighted by one of our correspondents showed that as of March 25, 2022, no fewer than 124 applications were received by the commission. However, none of the associations has been registered.

The report read in part, “As of March 2022, the commission had on record a total of 124 letters of intent from various political associations seeking to apply for registration as political parties. The summary of the status of the associations is that 97 associations out of 116 have been advised that their proposed names, acronyms or logos were not suitable or available for registration.

“Eleven of the associations that received letters of non-suitability of their proposed names/acronyms/logos resubmitted letters of intent with amended names/acronyms/logos. Sixteen associations submitted fresh letters of intent.”

Advertisement

Asked whether INEC would still register new political parties before the 2023 elections, Oyekanmi said on Friday that the final decision on whether or not to register a new political party before the elections rested exclusively with the commission, a system he said he would not pre-empt.

He said, “The submission of an application by an association or group for registration as a political party is the starting point of an elaborate and rigorous process. It, therefore, takes time and a lot of effort from when an application is submitted to the day the certificate of registration is given.

READ ALSO: 2023: INEC Clears Air On Extending Deadline For Party Primaries

Advertisement

“Section 75 of the Electoral Act, 2022 says any political association that complies with the provisions of the constitution and the Act for the purposes of registration shall be registered as a political party provided, however, that such an application for registration shall be duly submitted to the commission not later than 12 months before a general election.”

The 2023 General Elections Project Plan launched by INEC last month also projects 18 political parties for next year’s elections.

With June 3, 2022, as INEC’s deadline for political parties to conclude their primaries, it seems clear that no new party will be able to participate in the general elections.

Advertisement

Several calls, SMS and WhatsApp messages sent to the INEC National Commissioner and Chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, for response were not picked or replied to.

However, a National Commissioner in INEC, who spoke with Sunday PUNCH on condition of anonymity, affirmed that only 18 political parties would partake in the elections.

He said, “Any party that registers now can never be for the 2023 elections because the timetable for the primaries is running already; the primaries must end on June 3, that’s less than a month. So, I don’t see how a party that is registered now will be able to meet up with all of these requirements.

Advertisement

“Don’t forget that they also have to bring the register of their members. So, if they are registered now, when are they going to do all of these?”

Asked to confirm if only 18 political parties would participate in the 2023 elections, he said, “Absolutely, that’s what is going to happen, because the timetable can no longer accommodate them (new members).”

A Resident Electoral Commissioner, who also did not want his name mentioned, said the commission would not reject any valid application for registration, but that its timetable could exclude any new party from participating in certain elections.

Advertisement

He said, “I don’t think INEC is in the position to turn them down. The only thing is whether or not they will be on the ballot. Maybe by the time they finish the process, it will be too late. If party primaries are over before they register as political parties, automatically they are out. Party primaries are to end on June 3, so automatically any political party that is set up after the primaries have been concluded cannot take part in the elections.”

READ ALSO: INEC In Dilemma Over Prosecution Of 1.1million Multiple Registrants

Another source in the commission dismissed any insinuation that INEC delayed in registering the parties to avoid complications in its guidelines and preparations for the 2023 elections.

Advertisement

Prior to the fresh applications, INEC had on February 6, 2020 deregistered 74 political parties due to their poor performance in the 2019 general elections and the re-run elections that followed.

Yakubu said in addition to the extant provision for the registration of political parties, the Fourth Alteration to Section 225(a) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, empowered the commission to deregister political parties.

 

Advertisement

Ninety-one political parties participated in the 2019 general elections, while an additional one, the Boot Party, was registered based on the order of a court after the polls.

“Accordingly, 74 political parties are hereby deregistered. With this development, Nigeria now has 18 registered political parties,” Yakubu had said.

He recalled that between 2011 and 2013, INEC deregistered a total of 39 political parties based on the same provision. The Supreme Court, on May 7 upheld an earlier judgment of the Court of Appeal, which okayed the deregistration of the National Unity Party and 73 others. The appeal was filed by the NUP and others.

Advertisement

In the lead judgment delivered by Justice Adamu Jauro, the Supreme Court said the deregistration of the parties was done in line with the laws and in compliance with the extant provisions of the 1999 Constitution and the Electoral Act.

The judgment, delivered by a five-man panel led by Justice Mary Odili, said INEC was empowered by Section 225 (a) of the constitution to de-register any political party that failed to meet the relevant requirements. The apex court then dismissed the parties’ appeal.

However, a staff member of the commission, who did not want his name mentioned, said INEC had the responsibility of registering political parties but that people should also consider joining existing parties.

Advertisement

“Studies show clearly that in any democracy where you have one to three dominant political parties, the moment the elite begin to form more political parties, you are only increasing the chances of those dominant parties, even though they may not be liked by the people,” he stated.

Asked for the solution, he said, “People should join the political parties and not go and form theirs. In the last Osun State governorship election in 2018, there were 25 political parties, whereas 18 participated. If you check, you will find out that the two major parties led the others despite the way people criticised them.”

It’s risky for parties to change congress, primaries’ dates – INEC

Advertisement

Meanwhile, less than four weeks to the deadline for political parties to hold their primaries, INEC has said it is now risky for any party to change the dates of its congresses, conventions and primaries.

Okoye had in a statement a few days ago said that in compliance with Section 82 (1) of the Electoral Act (2022), all the 18 political parties had served the required notices indicating the dates for their conventions, congresses, and primaries for the purpose of nominating candidates for various elective offices as specified in the constitution and the Electoral Act.

Asked if political parties could still change the dates for those exercises, Oyekanmi said on Friday, “It’s not advisable for any political party to change the date of its convention, congress, or primary election at this time. The deadline for the conduct of party primaries for the 2023 general elections is June 3, 2022.

Advertisement

READ ALSO: 2023: INEC Threatens To Bar Political Parties If…

“The Electoral Act, 2022 states that parties must give the commission at least 21 days’ notice. What this means is that political parties have until May 13, 2022 to give the commission a notice. In my opinion, waiting till the last moment to do the needful is always risky.”

PUNCH.

Advertisement

 

Advertisement
Advertisement
Comments

Politics

Wike Receives Kwakwanso In Rivers

Published

on

By

The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, continues to receive high-profile politicians at his residence in Port Harcourt.

The latest is the former Governor of Kano State and presidential candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party, Rabiu Kwakwanso, who paid a private visit to Governor Wike on Friday.

Advertisement

Both Wike and Kwakwanso were seen in front of the former’s residence exchanging pleasantries.

This came about 24 hours after the former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Godsday Orubebe, as well as the Senate minority caucus, led by its leader, Philip Aduda, visited Wike.

The presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, and the Governor of Bauchi State, Bala Mohammed, also visited Wike on Wednesday.

Advertisement

READ ALSO: Atiku Raises Team To Woo Wike, Rivers Gov’s Camp Adamant

Similarly, Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State had visited earlier in the week.

The recent visits by the Peoples Democratic Party leaders, presidential candidates and top politicians, certainly have a connection with the 2023 general election.

Advertisement

All the visits so far have been followed by a closed-door meeting with the outcome unknown to any.

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Politics

Why South-East Won’t Vote For APC, PDP – Igbo Group

Published

on

By

The Igbo Elders Consultative Forum also known as Ime-obi Ohanaeze Ndigbo has berated the major political parties in the country for their refusal to zone the presidency to the South-East region.

They described Igbo delegates who voted against South-East aspirants in the presidential primaries for the 2023 election as “serial betrayals and shameless saboteurs”.

Advertisement

The IECF in a statement issued in Abuja on Friday by its Secretary, Prof. Charles Nwekeaku, specifically expressed concern over the commercialization of the presidential primaries of the All Progressives Congress and Peoples Democratic Party.

Nwekeaku declared that the South Eastast won’t vote for both the APC and PDP in 2023, “as they do not deserve our votes anymore”.

He said, “This will not happen again as the Igbo Elders shall provide a new leadership that will strengthen the Ohaneze leadership in Igbo land. Those betrayals will retire from politics shamefully and unceremoniously as they will never represent South East in any public service again.

Advertisement

READ ALSO: Presidency: Okowa A Minus To Atiku, Igbos Won’t Vote PDP – Ohanaeze

“We observed with grave concern the unprecedented monetisation of the recent political parties’ primary elections, especially the presidential election at which highest bidders emerged as presidential candidates.

“More worrisome was the failure of the major political parties, namely, the ruling APC, and PDP, to zone the Presidency to the South East in keeping with the Federal Character principle and zoning arrangement as contained in Section 14 (3) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the various political parties constitutions for the sake of justice, equity, fairness, peace and stability of the country.

Advertisement

“Worse still, the brazen arrogance and bravado that characterized the PDP leadership changing of the goal post at the middle of the game portrays a bleak future for good governance, transparency and accountability for Nigeria as the principles of justice, equity and fairness do not seem to matter again because it is the turn of the South East.

“Equally shocking and saddening was the brazen betrayal and unbridled collusion of some unpatriotic Igbo sons and daughters that shamelessly and unrepentantly joined those who do not mean well for our people to deny President aspirants from the South East their support and votes.

“They worked and voted for Dollar and lucre at the expense of their fellow aspirants from the South East in brazen arrogance and disregard of the demand of the Southern Governors Forum, Southern and Middle Belt Forum, Afenifere, Pan Niger Delta Forum, Igbo Elders Consultative Forum, Ohaneze Global, among other credible and vocal stakeholders that demanded that the Presidency be zoned to the South, and further micro zoned to the South East.

Advertisement

“Except Ebonyi State, other delegates from Anambra, Abia, Enugu and Imo States and their sponsors need to explain to ndi igbo who they sold their votes to and at what cost at the expense of our collective interest of producing the President of Nigeria in 2023.”

According to him, the serial betrayals and shameless saboteurs would forever regret their unpatriotic actions against the collective interest of the Igbos.

Nwekeaku appealed to Igbos to remain calm as the forum was studying the development, and would, “certainly, take decisive actions against those betrayals and opportunists, no matter their position and caliber, to serve as a deterrent for those who are still plotting to betray the Igbos in the planned 2023 general elections.”

Advertisement

He urged the Independent National Electoral Commission to extend the voter registration exercise for three months to enable every eligible Nigerian to register and participate in the next year general elections.

READ ALSO: Kanu: US Lawyer Writes Ohanaeze, Raises Alarm

“It is equally important for INEC to resume the online registration in order to decongest the already overcrowded registration centers, thus facilitating the registration of more Nigerians to participate In the democratic process of electing their leaders as it is generally believed that the application of the electronic transmission of votes as contains in the 2022 Electoral Act would make citizens’ votes count in determining the electoral victory in the country.

Advertisement

“For the political parties that denied the Igbo’s presidential slot, we shall reject them completely in the general elections of 2023, as they do not deserve our votes anymore”, Nwekeaku said.

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Politics

Electoral Act: Reps React To Dismissal Of Buhari’s Suit Against National Assembly By Supreme Court

Published

on

By

The House of Representatives on Friday hailed the Supreme Court judgement, which struck out the suit by President Muhammadu Buhari, looking to void the provision of section 84 (12) of the Electoral Amendment Act 2022.

The Spokesperson of the House, Rep. Benjamin Kalu, made the commendation while speaking with NAN in Abuja.

Advertisement

The court had earlier said that Buhari lacked the power to instruct the National Assembly to enact or amend an act, adding that it violated the principle of separation of power.

According to the judgement, there’s no part of the constitution that makes the exercise of legislative power subject to the directive of the President.

Kalu said the House of Reps was happy with the Supreme Court judgement, adding that the House wasn’t expecting anything less because the judges were erudite scholars.

Advertisement

READ ALSO: BREAKING: Electoral Act: Supreme Court Dismisses Buhari’s Suit Against National Assembly

“This judgement is unequivocally embracing and heart-warming, it isn’t a victory for the House of Reps but a victory for the advancement of our democracy and the rule of law,” he said.

“Let us celebrate this victory, the judiciary has added its own quota to the advancement of democracy, the Electoral Act, nation-building is a joint task,” he said.

Advertisement

Continue Reading

Trending