The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said it lacked the constitutional power to deregister any of the existing 91 political parties in the country.
INEC Commissioner in charge of Nasarawa, Kogi and Kwara states, Malam Muhammed Haruna, made this known in Lokoja, yesterday, when he declared open a post-election review meeting on the last general election.
Haruna said the clamour by Nigerians, for reduction in the number of registered parties can only be done through an amendment of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
He agreed that the provisions in the constitution, which state that parties must be national in outlook and have headquarters in Abuja had led to unexpected problems but explained that INEC was helpless.
The commissioner advocated a consensus among stakeholders to resolve the issue, explaining that constitutional amendment was the only way out.
Haruna identified logistics as the major challenge the INEC encountered in the process of conducting the last general elections, saying that steps would be taken to prevent a re-occurrence.
On the just-released European Union Observers’ report on the last general election, the INEC commissioner said all the issues raised in the report were outside the purview of the electoral body.
He said the review meeting was organised to identify success factors in the elections with a view to consolidating and sustaining them and to share knowledge among staff and key stakeholders.
Also, the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Kogi, Prof James Apam, admitted to security lapses during the last elections in the state.
He assured that efforts would be made to correct this and other identified areas of failure before the November 16 governorship election in the state.