The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that it has so far received no fewer than 108 fresh applications from political associations seeking registration as political parties.
Chairman of the commission, Prof. Mahmoud Yakub, made the disclosure in Lagos on Thursday while speaking on “Citizen, Government and Technology’’ at a session of the ongoing Lagos Social Media Week.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the commission had in December 2017 registered 21 new parties.
The registration of the new parties brought the total number of registered parties to 68.
Yakub, who addressed the session via a video call, said the fresh applications were being processed by the commission.
“As of Friday, we received no fewer than 108 fresh applications from political associations seeking to be registered as political parties.
“We have begun the processing and scrutiny of the applications and we will register those that meet the eligibility criteria,’’ he said.
Yakub said the commission would continue to register political associations as parties so long as they meet the set guidelines.
He, however, said political associations which sought registration six months before the general election would be barred from the polls.
Yakub said the commission decided to take the step to ensure that parties had enough time to prepare for elections.
He said the commission was glad that out of the 21 parties that were registered recently, four were driven by women.
The INEC boss added that the commission had always been advocating gender inclusiveness in governance and the electoral process.
On the release of election timetable for the next 36 years by INEC, Yakub said the commission had not done anything strange.
He said the objective of the step was to instill some certainty in the electoral process and management.
“We released the timetable because we believe we have reached a point where election dates should not be a matter of conjecture, it should be known. That is what obtains elsewhere.
“In Ghana, everybody knows the election date and it has remained the same for the past six years; in Kenya, it is August 8, and that is known to all Kenyans.
“So the essence of the timetable is to ensure some certainty, such that every Nigerian knows the election date regardless of the year,’’ he said.
On the move to re-order the sequence of the 2019 election, Yakub said the INEC timetable remained sacrosanct for now.
He said there was no law yet compelling the altering of the sequence, saying the National Assembly’s proposal could only be considered with the coming of a new law.
Yakub said the commission was working closely with parties to promote internal democracy among them to strengthen democracy.
He also said it was putting checks on political parties to ensure they complied with election spending limits as recommended by the law.
The chairman appealed to the public to support the commission in efforts to endure free and fair conduct of governorship elections in Osun and Ekiti, as well as the 2019 general elections.