The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that political parties which violate the constitutional requirement before their registration would be deregistered “at the appropriate time” before the commencement of electioneering for the 2023 general election.
About 91 political parties are officially registered in Nigeria; however, most of them lack national spread and capacity to win elective positions in the country.
In most cases, these parties are often used as bargaining chips for political patronage by their founders.
But with the conclusion of the 2019 general election, there has been increased agitation by political stakeholders for INEC to reduce the number of parties. This, they say, is part of the reforms needed to sanitise the electoral system ahead of the 2023 general election.
Festus Okoye, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voters Education Committee, in an interview with BusinessDay in Lagos, Tuesday, said that the parties were aware of the constitutional requirement they must meet in order not to be delisted.
According to him, “We have the power to deregister political parties. At the appropriate time, the commission will look at the number of political parties that we have and see which ones are in violation of the provision of their registration and in good standing.”
“The moment we see the see anyone that is in violation of the guild lines the commission would use its constitutional power to do the needful,” Okoye said.
Okoye, however, denied insinuations that the commission lacked the constitutional power to deregister non-performing parties in the country, stressing that INEC would soon carry out a review to check which of them violated these provisions.
“We have never said we don’t have the power to delist political parties which are not performing; section 225A of the Constitution gives INEC the power to delist parties which do not meet the constitutional requirement which they were registered,” he stressed.
Okoye said the parties know these conditions, adding that “the moment you fall off these conditions you will be deregistered.”
“If you don’t have five percent in the presidential election you can be deregistered if you don’t win a certain number of seats in the National Assembly you can be delisted,” Okoye pointed out.