…Says 17 parties have no offices or expired rents
From: Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has threatened to come down hard on political parties who failed to comply with conditions for registration, especially in the opening functional offices in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, handed down the warning, on Wednesday, during a quarterly consultative forum between INEC and leaderships of the political parties, in Abuja.
He lamented that 17 political parties do not have offices or facing expired rent, in the nation’s capital.
He equally expressed disappointment over the failure of 18 political parties to constitute a National Executive Committee (NEC), frowning that only five parties had complied with the stipulated submission of election campaign expenses since the end of the 2015 general elections.
While warning the parties without functional offices and properly constituted their NEC, the INEC boss said: “As I speak with you, the Commission has over 108 political associations seeking fresh registration. We want to assure all the associations that the Commission will register those that met the legal requirements. They should take that for granted on the Commission.
“But for those that have already been registered, I want to draw your attention to the certain issues. The constitution is very clear on the processes and conditions for registration that must be complied. Section 223 of the constitution talks about the validity of the composition of the political parties NEC.
“Unfortunately, out of the 46 registered political parties, only 28 parties are in compliance. 18 political parties have not complied. Section 222 of the constitution requires political parties to establish offices in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) but as we speak today, only 29 political parties are in compliance while 17 political parties have not. So, we have 17 political parties have no offices in FCT or their rents have expired which amounts to the same thing of not having office in FCT,” he said.
Commenting on the failure of many parties to submit the 2015 general elections expenses to the Commission, he said: “Parties are expected to submit to the Commission their election campaign expenses for the 2015 general elections but as we speak only five political parties are in compliance.
“While 24 other political parties did not comply, the case of 17 parties is understandable because they are registered after the general elections. But for parties that contested the general elections, only five complied,” he lamented.
Speaking further, Prof Yakubu said: “We have written to the political parties urging them to inform the Commission if there are issues. But parties as entities must comply with the Constitution and the Electoral Acts, which is actually the basis for their registration and existence.
“Finally, I want to reiterate the appeal I made yesterday to all the political parties that although INEC has fixed a date for the general election, we are yet to release the time table for the election and the law if very clear on when electioneering and campaigns will commence. It remains 90 days to the election and must stop 24 hours to the actual casting of ballot.
“However, we have noticed that some people using the name of some political parties are already in campaign mood. Since there is no provision for any Nigerian to contest election as an independent candidate for now and since every candidate must be sponsored by a political party, we expect everybody to comply with electoral rules.
“It is true that no political party has openly declared campaign for 2019 general elections but the parties owe it a duty to obey the laws of the land. INEC is yet to issue timetable for the commencement of electioneering campaign and we expect all politicians’ parties to comply,” he warned