The Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) has said that only eight out of the 34 political parties existing in Plateau State would feature candidates in the Feb. 17 local government elections in the state.
The Secretary, Plateau IPAC, Mr Abubakar Dogara, disclosed this at a stakeholder’s engagement forum on election organised by the Plateau State Coalition on Electoral Reform and Governance (PLASCER) in Jos.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the forum was supported by Community Action for Popular Participation (CAPP), ActionAid Nigeria, UKaid and BBC Media Action.
Dogara said the low participation was a result of the inability of some of the political parties and their candidates to meet with some of the conditions put in place by the state’s Independent Electoral Commission (PLASIEC).
“Out of the 34 political parties we have in Plateau, only eight are going to participate in the forthcoming local government elections slated for Feb 17.
“This is not because parties are not interested in participating, but because they are unable to meet up with some of the conditions put in place by PLASIEC.
“For instance, the commission says candidates contesting for chairmanship must pay N350, 000 and those for positions of councillors should pay N170, 000 each as clearance fee.
“Even when we pleaded that the fee was on the high side, citing an example from other states that paid less, the Commission did not agree with us.
“So, we feel this and other factors must have discouraged other political parties from fielding candidates for the elections,” he said.
The Secretary said that some of the political parties which would field candidates in the forthcoming elections included: the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Action Democratic Party (ADP) and the Green Party.
Earlier, Mr Nelson Ananze, CAPP’s Acting Executive Director, said the aim of the forum was for critical stakeholders to chart a way forward on the need for peaceful and acceptable polls.
“The idea of this engagement is to discuss with key election stakeholders to see their level of preparedness towards a free, fair and credible election come Feb 17.
“For example, we will want to know the modalities PLASIEC put on ground to ensure the election is acceptable to all.
“How ready is the security agency to ensure the polls are rancour-free? How prepared are the political parties and their loyalists to conduct themselves acceptably before, during and after the polls?
“We need to know all these so that on our part we can further sensitise citizens of the state on the dos and don’ts in the forthcoming elections,” he said.
NAN reports that the forum had participants from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), political parties, Civil Society Organisation (CBOs), the Nigeria Police and other government agencies.