Sixty groups seek registration as new political parties — INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said on Friday that it had received requests from 60 associations for registration as political parties.

Nick Dazang, the Deputy Director, Voter Education and Publicity, INEC, told the News Agency of Nigeria that as soon as the commission was through with the processes, it would meet and take a decision.

Nigeria currently has about 29 registered political parties.

Meanwhile, some of the deregistered political parties have criticised INEC for re-registering some of the parties it deregistered in 2012 instead of all the parties.

In separate interviews with NAN, the parties said it was wrong for INEC to still allow parties it deregistered to remain, while planning to register new associations.

The National Chairman of the Progressives Action Council (PAC), Charles Nwodo, said the party would head to court again on the matter.

“We went to court at a particular time and along the way, the Judge ruled that we come with a group of political parties.

“He said if we had come as a single party, he would not have granted us, and eventually granted only the parties we joined to head to court.

“But some other parties still went to court and among all the rulings both at the High Court and Appeal Court was that INEC has no legitimate powers to deregister political parties.

“What INEC wish is that if they make any pronouncement, you have to head to court to make them reverse it. That is the situation we find ourselves.

“I believe that if an Appeal Court had ruled on a case, automatically, it has opened doors for mass reregistration of political parties; when a court says you have no right, it means you have no right at all.

“So the alternative for us is to head to court again,’’ Mr. Nwodo said.

The National Chairman of African Renaissance Party (ARP), Yahaya Ndu, said his party was not ready to go to court for now.

“INEC re-registered only political parties which went to court to contest their deregistration.

“We have not gone to court and we are not in a hurry to do so now. 2019 is coming, we will be back before then.

“However, all the ones that have been re-registered what impact are they making? When we come back Nigerians will know that this is the party that will bring succour to them,’’ Mr. Ndu said.

Bala Shittu, INEC’s Director for election and party monitoring, told NAN that INEC had re-registered 10 out of the 28 political parties it deregistered in 2012.

A Lagos Court of Appeal and Federal High Court, Abuja had in 2015 ruled that INEC lacked power to de-register political parties.

Mr. Shittu said the 10 re-registered political parties were joined in the court proceedings.

“As you know, it is part of the court judgment that ordered INEC to reinstate them, so they were part and parcel of the proceedings and so they were joined.

“The other remaining deregistered political parties were not part of the process.

“There were actually two judgments, one by three and the other by seven; so they were two separate proceedings,” Mr. Shittu said.

He said the parties planning to take INEC to court, perhaps were doing so for different reason.

He said there was a time frame as stipulated by law within which a political party could take the commission to court concerning de-registration, adding that the period had lapsed.

“You may recall that these court proceedings were not entered last year or even year before last, so the court process has been on but finally it brought this judgments,’’ Mr. Shittu said.

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