The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Wednesday in Abuja presented certificates of registration to the 21 newly registered political parties.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the registration of the 21 new political parties was approved by the commission on Dec. 14, 2017, bringing the number of registered parties in the country to 68.
The political parties are All Blending Party (ABP), All Grassroots Alliance (AGA), Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN), Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party (ANRP), Coalition for Change (C4C) and Freedom and Justice Party (FJP).
Also registered are Grassroots Development Party of Nigeria (GDPN), Justice Must Prevail Party (JMPP), Legacy Party of Nigeria (LPN), Mass Action Joint Alliance (MAJA), Modern Democratic Party (MDP), National Interest Party (NIP), National Rescue Mission (NRM) and New Progressive Mission (NPM).
New Progressive Movement (NPM), Nigeria Democratic Congress Party (NDCP), People’s Alliance for National Development and Liberty (PANDEL), People’s Trust (PT) and Providence People’s Congress (PPC) were also registered.
Also on the list are Re-Build Nigeria Party (RBNP), Restoration Party of Nigeria (RP) and Sustainable National Party (SNP).
The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said at the certificates presentation ceremony new parties said that compliance with the judgment of the Federal High Court, the Commission had also registered the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN).
“We have already issued the Certificate of Registration to the SPN.
“The number of new political parties has risen to 22 in addition to the 46 parties already in existence. This means that the total number of political parties in Nigeria today stands at 68,’’ he said.
Yakubu advised the new parties to operate within the law at all times, as well add value to our democracy by adhering to the tenets of democratic norms anchored on the rule of law.
“Your registration is coming close to the 2019 general elections for which the commission has released the timetable and schedule of activities.
“Later this year, two Governorship elections are scheduled in Ekiti State on July 14 and Osun State on Sept. 22.
“It is of utmost importance for political parties ensure that their respective activities are not only open and democratic but also based on compliance with relevant provisions of your respective Constitutions,’’ said the chairman.
Yakubu disclosed that since the registration of the 21 new political parties, the commission had received more 90 applications from associations seeking registration as political parties.
He said that out of the 90 applications, 61 associations had failed the initial assessment of their proposed names, logos or acronyms and had been notified.
“Twenty-five associations that passed initial assessment have been advised to proceed to the next stage of the registration process.
“Four associations are undergoing preliminary assessments of the suitability of their proposed names, logos, and acronyms.’’
He assured all associations that the commission would continue to treat each application fairly and on its merit consistent with the provisions of the law.
Yakubu also assured Nigerians that INEC was capable of managing the increased numbers of registered political parties in the country.
“The number of political parties is good for our plural democracy. However, political parties must cooperate with the Commission for successful elections.
“If each of the 68 political parties in Nigeria today fields candidates for all the 1,558 constituencies to be contested in the 2019 general elections, the commission will grapple with 105,944 candidates.
“If you consider the management and logistics of providing ballot papers for a projected 80 million registered voters, ad hoc staff.
“The requirements for forward and reverse logistics, monitoring of political party primaries, electioneering campaign, campaign finance, voter education, accreditation of national/international observers and the media, the task is enormous.
“I wish to assure Nigerians that we are aware of the challenges. We are also up to the task,’’ Mahmood said.
He appealed to political parties to adhere strictly to the 2019 election timelines warning that INEC would not hesitate to reject the submission by any party that violates the timelines.
The Chairman of Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), Alhaji Mohammed Nalado, commended INEC for registration of the new parties while advising the new parties to play by the rule.
Responding on behalf of the newly registered parties, the National Chairman of JPF, Breakforth Onwunbuya, also commended INEC for approving their registration.
Onwunbuya pledged that the new parties would contribute their quotas towards deepening of Nigerian democracy and improving the country.