19th August, 2011
Some political parties today in Abuja, expressed mixed feelings about the position of INEC over the de-registration of seven political parties which failed to win any political seat in the April general elections.
Chief Frank Ohwofa, National Chairman of the Freedom Party of Nigeria (FPN), said the action was not healthy for Nigeriaâ€™s democracy.
INEC de-registered the parties for not fielding candidates and failure to win any political seat during the April general elections.
Ohwofa told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), that “the act of de-registering political parties is not in the good interest of a growing democracy like ours.”
“Except we understand the concept behind registration of political parties, we will not get it right by delisting parties on account of not fielding candidates.”
According to him, parties are not registered on the sole account of winning elections or fielding candidates in an election.
“I have seen the de-registration as a mere distraction in governance.”
He said there were some political parties which did well in previous elections and decided not to field candidates in the recently-concluded elections, noting that it would not be fair to de-list them.
Ohwofa urged the National Assembly to review the act that gave room for de-registration of political parties.
The parties de-registered are Democratic Alternative, National Democratic Council, National Action Council, Masses Movement of Nigeria, Nigerian Peopleâ€˜s Congress, Nigerian Element Progressive Party and National Unity Party.
But the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) said the partiesâ€™ de-registration should not be seen as witch hunting if it was done in accordance with the Electoral Act.
Alhaji Buba Galadima, National Secretary of the party, told NAN that “If the de-registration of some parties by INEC was done without bias, then we should see it as necessary.
“I really do not have a problem with it so long as it is done in accordance with the law.”
The parties are by reason of their de-registration precluded from engaging in electoral activities, including but not limited to canvassing for seats in any electoral process.
The commission also announced that the certificate of registration earlier issued to the affected parties would be withdrawn.
The Electoral Act 2010, as amended, specifies that any political party that contests elections and looses or did not win any electoral seat in the elections to either the State or National Assembly, governorship or presidential elections stands to be deregistered.
Similarly, the Chairman of ACN, FCT chapter, Mr. Faruk Osuma, said that the issue was no news since it was a matter that the parties ought to have known.
“It is an Electoral Act issue. It is the position of the law and the Chairman (INEC) had made it clear earlier on. So, nothing is new.”
In his reaction, the Labour Party (LP) Senatorial candidate for FCT in the April election, Kayode Ajulo, said INECâ€™s action was appropriate and in accordance with the electoral laws.
Ajulo also told NAN that INECâ€™s decision had the full backing of the amended 2010 Electoral Act.
He, however, noted that the law permitted any of the proscribed parties to apply for fresh registration under a new name if it fulfilled prevailing conditions for registration.
“When you look at the 2010 Electoral Act, what INEC has done is perfectly in order.
“INEC had done what the law empowers it to do after every general elections. The law must take its course.
“But the proscription does not stop them from re-applying under a new identity after meeting the stipulated and prevailing conditions.
He urged Nigerians to cooperate with INEC in its effort to apply the tenets of the law for improvement of the electoral system.