From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Thursday tacitly endorsed 22 deregistered political parties to conduct primaries for the November 6 Anambra State governorship election.
The National Chairman of People for Democratic Change (PDC), Barr Igwe Benjamin, who led the National Chairmen of the 22 political parties to the headquarters of the Commission in Abuja, said that the endorsement of their requests to conduct primaries for the Anambra governorship poll translated to automatic relisting of their parties deregistered by the electoral umpire.
Addressing newsmen after the endorsement for primaries signed by the SA to the Chairman of the Commission, Abdulrasheed Mohammed, the PDC chairman said: ‘We came here to submit our notice of primary election for the November 6 Anambra state governorship election and happily INEC has accepted our letters.
‘The reason we came in group to submit the notice was that in the past eight months, we have been making attempts to serve INEC letter and to participate in the Ondo and Edo state governorship elections and other by-elections but the Commission had always rebuffed us. Each time we come they say we have been deregistered.
‘Meanwhile, we have the Appeal Court judgement which cannot be stayed. We are happy that today, either God has touched their hearts or that they have come to the realization that you cannot just break the law because the consequences are there, they have accepted for us to participate in the Anambra state governorship election,’ Benjamin said.
Speaking on the implications of the submission of notices of the primary election to INEC, Benjamin said that it is a sign of endorsement and an acceptance of the court pronouncement that the parties have been restored to their status as registered political parties.’
The National Chairman Green Party of Nigeria (GPN), Dr Sam Eke, has frowned at the insinuations that the parties are not serious about contesting but to endorse other bigger parties in exchange for something.
‘Before now, INEC has been disobeying court order even when the court gave declarative order. This judgement is not going to be for only the 22 political parties. By extention all the political parties involved in the illegal deregistration are fully back,’ he said.
On giving Nigerians assurance that parties endorsed to contest will not opt for endorsement of majority political parties, he said: ‘That is the problem we have in this country. When you talk about endorsements, it is practised in every part of the world. There will always be alliances.
‘Political parties should be able to work at their pace. If I think that I can go into alliance with another party, nobody should legally stop us. We have the right to work collaboratively with other parties to promote good democracy,’ he argued.
The parties endorsed to conduct primaries are the Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD), Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP), All Blending Party (ABP), All Grand Alliance Party (AGAP), Alliance of Social Democrats (ASD), Change Advocacy Party (CAP), Democratic People’s Congress (DPC), Green Party of Nigeria (GPN), Masses Movement of Nigeria (MMN) and Mega Party of Nigeria (MPN).
Others are: New Generation Party of Nigeria (NGPA), Nigeria For Democracy (NFD), Peoples Coalition Party (PCP), Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), People for Democratic Change (PDC), Young Democratic Party (YDP), Re-Build Nigeria Party (RBNP), Save Nigeria Congress (SNC), Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN), United Democratic Party (UDP), United Patriots (UP) and We The People of Nigeria (WTPN).