The Independent National Electoral Commission has said more parties will be deregistered after the 2023 elections if they failed to meet constitutional provisions.
INEC two weeks ago deregistered 74 political parties out of the country’s 92, leaving only 18 of them.
The electoral umpire said the parties were deregistered owing to their failure to meet the requirements of the 1999 constitution.
The Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, announced the de-registration at a news conference.
Speaking on the likelihood that such would happen again after the 2023 general election, Yakubu’s Chief Press Secretary, Rotimi Oyekanmi, said unless the parties meet the constitutional requirements for their continued existence, INEC would axe some more.
Oyekanmi, in an opinion piece, titled: “Between INEC and unending conspiracy theories,” said: “Going forward, with the Fourth Alteration of the 1999 Constitution now in force, all political parties in Nigeria will be assessed after every general election and any party that fails to meet the threshold under Section 225A will face the prospects of de-registration, unless the Constitution is amended again.”
He explained that parties are now expected to meet the requirements of Section 225A of the Fourth Alteration of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
He wrote: “Specifically, Section 225A empowered INEC to deregister a political party on the following grounds: breach of the requirements for registration as a political party; failure to win at least 25 per cent of the votes cast in one state of the federation in a presidential election; 25 per cent of the votes cast in one local government area of a state in a governorship election; at least one ward in a chairmanship election; one seat in the National or State Assembly election or one seat in a Councillorship election.
“Before implementing this law, the Commission carried out an assessment of all the 92 registered political parties last December, using the just concluded 2019 General Elections and the Federal Capital Territory Area Council Elections to determine the level of compliance. Let’s be reminded that INEC is only empowered to conduct local government elections in the FCT and good enough, the last FCT area council poll coincided with the 2019 general elections. Each State has its electoral commission, known as the State Independent Electoral Commission, which conducts local government elections, although INEC makes the National Register of Voters and list of registered political parties available to them when local government elections are conducted.
“After the assessment, 16 political parties fulfilled the requirements stipulated under Section 225A, while 75 political parties failed. However, one political party filed a suit in court and obtained an order restraining the Commission from de-registering it. Therefore, the Commission could not take further action until the determination of the case. Another political party registered by court after the 2019 general elections could also not be de-registered since it was not among those assessed during the period. These two, plus the 16 political parties that initially scaled the hurdle, bring the total number of registered political parties in Nigeria today to 18.”