Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Abuja yesterday, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, revealed that the electoral body has initiated moves to prune down the number of political parties in Nigeria.
INEC listed 91 political parties for the 2019 general election; which some stakeholders kicked against; they said the number was unwieldy.
Prof. Yakubu told a delegation which included the Secretary General for West Africa and the Sahel and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa, Mohammed Ibn Chambers, that INEC intends to meet with the leadership of the Ninth National Assembly, in the next two months, to kickstart work on election reviews.
“In particular, we need to focus attention on the electoral legal framework among several areas of reform. Indeed, long before the 2019 general election, the Commission submitted detailed proposals for the amendment of our electoral laws, in the light of our experience from the 2015 general elections and numerous off-season elections.
“We had a useful interaction with the Eighth National Assembly. We also submitted extensive proposals for the improvement of the electoral legal framework for its consideration. We hope to conclude the ongoing review of the 2019 general election in the next two months…
“We will also hold extensive meetings with political parties, civil society, security agencies, the media as well as other stakeholders as part of the Commission‘s commitment to the continuous improvement of the electoral process in Nigeria. Immediately thereafter, we shall engage with the leadership of the Ninth National Assembly. There is so much work to do but little time ahead of us,” he said.
Earlier, the United Nations (UN) expressed concern over the number of registered political parties in Nigeria, arguing that the number posed challenges during the general election.
Chambers urged the electoral body to review the numbers, mode of registration of political parties.
“We have come as part of constant relationship that the UN enjoys with INEC. It shows that our relationship is not only during election time. We have an ongoing institutional relations with the commission before and off election season. We want to once again commend the leadership and the relationship we share with the federal commissioners based at state level. We want to extend appreciation to INEC for the relationship that UN has with the commission and also use this visit to renew and reiterate that the UN wishes to strengthen this relations.
“We want to be part of the post-election review and the conversations which have already been launched by the chairman. We want to say that this is a step in the right direction. During the electoral process, Nigerians, civil society organisations, state institutions, international observer missions wrote several reports and at the end of the day, it is our understanding that INEC took the observations serious.”