The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says groups that are “not strong enough” to become political parties should not bother registering as one.
Festus Okoye, INEC national commissioner, said this while reacting to claims that some of the deregistered political parties were not given enough time to operate after their registration.
The commission removed 74 parties from its register citing their failure to meet some of the criteria stipulated by the constitution during the general election.
But some of them registered not long ago — including the 23 that were confirmed few months before the general election — argued they have not been given enough time to establish their footing.
But speaking during a Channels TV programme on Sunday, Okoye said they should have been prepared before the elections, and that INEC does not recognise any party as small or big.
“The 92 political parties in existence in Nigeria have the same political standing and footing. In the constitution, we don’t recognise small parties, we don’t recognise big political parties,” he said.
“Because each political party has a certificate of registration issued to them as a political party. So, in the certificate, we don’t say, some parties are small or big parties.
“Constitutionally, there is no young or old party. If you are a political party, you are a political party. If you are not strong enough to be one, you can remain as a political association and build your structures.
“But the moment you present yourself as a political party, the implication is that you have brought yourself within the ambits of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Concerning claims that INEC was hasty in deregistering the parties especially with local government elections yet to be held, the electoral commissioner said the constitution did not stipulate when the provisions will be implemented.
“What some of the parties are saying is that we should put the parties in abeyance and wait for them in a futuristic projection so that they can contest in a future election and meet the provisions of the constitution,” he said.
“And as a public trust that has sworn to obey the law of the land, we don’t have the power and the right to do so.”
Practical Considerations to Negotiate an Enforceable Joint Operating Agreement in Civil Law Jurisdictions (Netherlands: Kluwer Law International, 2020) By Professor Damilola S. Olawuyi, LL. B (1st Class), BL (1st Class), LL.M (Calgary), LL.M (Harvard), DPhil (Oxford), Professor of Law and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti, Nigeria, www.damilolaolawuyi.com. & Professor Eduardo G. Pereira, LL. B (Brazil), LL.M (Aberdeen), PhD (Aberdeen),www.eduardogpereira.com
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