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Oyebode, CSOs speak on high numbers of political parties

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Professor Akindele Babatunde Oyebode


• Call For The Reform Of Electoral Law
Professor of International law and Jurisprudence, Akin Oyebode has called for the reform of the country’s electoral laws to exclude political parties that have few followership.

This was coming on the heels of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)’s Tuesday declaration that it has registered additional 23 new political parties, raising the number of registered parties to 91.

Oyebode who spoke on Channels Television insisted that the number was ridiculous and bemoaned that the electoral act was fashioned in a way that allowed different groups of people to come up with political parties.

The don advised that Nigeria should emulate other countries where they have main parties and termed the other parties fringe parties.He said: “91 is an absurdity, maybe by the time it get to 200, it will stop. What point is INEC trying to prove, well I cannot blame them because if you look at the electoral act, it does not restrict all sort of comedians and comics from coming in.

“In other systems that we know of, they put a minimum that a party should score in an election in order for it to be relevant. But here it is an all-comers game. We have to reform our electoral laws to exclude parties that have little or no followership. There was a time in this country when people asked for political contestation of parties. Even in England, there are ravening lunatics forming a party but nobody takes them seriously.

“In the United States of America, it is not just the Democrats and Republican parties that exist, there are other parties, this is called fringe parties, what we need to do is to separate the wheat from the chaff. If you fail to get five percent of votes then you loose your registration. Now, we have 91 parties, who are we impressing and it is just a bunch of jokers.”

Also, Research Lead at Budgit, Atiku Samuel in a phone interview with The Guardian said the number of political parties would continue to be on the increase because politics in the country has been monitised.

“Out of all these numerous political parties, we can only count five that are functioning well. Our country does not allow independent candidate so the way to contest is to join a party but because these parties have been monitised, other wants to found theirs. However, the excesses have to be reviewed as Nigerians fund the election.”
However, Executive Director, Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), David Ugolor, said there was nothing wrong in registering as many political parties as possible, saying it is the beauty of democracy.


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