Candidate of the National Conscience Party (NCP) in the forthcoming election, Pastor Peters Omoragbon has again, accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of breaching the1999 Constitution as amended by excluding the party from the election.
He warned the electoral commission to respect Section 40 of the Constitution and reverse its decision to exclude the party from the election than risk eventual nullification of the entire process by the court.
“Should INEC refuse to include my name and that of my party on the ballot and go ahead with the election, it may be engaging on a futile exercise”, he said.
He said INEC’s reasons for registering some political parties are not tenable as they only subvert democracy and the rule of law.
INEC in response to the NCP court case before the Federal High Court Lagos, challenging its deregistration, said that the proliferation of political parties poses a major challenge to electoral administration in Nigeria and that their presence in the register of political parties in Nigeria only makes the jobs of “INEC almost impossible to perform seamlessly.”
Omoragbon said, “It is worrisome for a commission that is funded directly by a federation account with unlimited powers and unfettered access to fund to employ as much staff as it desires to openly make such undermining confession about multi-party democracy and call it proliferation. It is insulting to fathom the thinking of INEC when it was responsible in the first place for the registration of the parties. Secondly, where is the respect for section 40 of the Nigerian Constitution that empowers every Nigerian their fundamental right to form, belong to any political party of their choice to advance their political beliefs. The Constitution never sets a ceiling to the numbers of political parties to be formed by citizens.
“As at August 2, 2019, there were 408 registered political parties in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, and out of these, about six are more popular-The Labour, Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, Green, Scottish National Party, Northern Ireland, the remaining 402 political parties remain unknown in the register of political parties and are featured on the ballots only when they field a candidate. None of them has been de-registered because they have no member in the House of Common, Lords or the county councils. “Amongst the relatively unknown parties is the Workers Revolutionary Party headed by a Nigerian called Joshua Ogunleye. Would the Nigerian Police Force postulate that because the population of Nigerians are increasing daily and for it to be able to engage in crime control, it should begin the process of reducing the population by eliminating Nigerians it defines as ‘comatose’?”, the NCP queried.