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‘No merger applications by political parties yet’


Why alliance may not be possible, by Ckekwas Okorie
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that there is no merger application by political parties yet.

The Chief Press Secretary to the INEC chairman, Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi, who spoke with The Guardian yesterday, said political parties could still submit applications, but such must be submitted 90 days before the election.

However, National Chairman of United Peoples Party (UPP) Chekwas Okorie, said alliance may not be possible again considering that the current Electoral Act provides that political parties seeking to merge must give INEC mandatory 90 days notice.

According to Okorie: “Section 84 of the Electoral Act states as follows (1) Any two or more registered political parties may merge on approval merger of political parties by the Commission following a formal request presented to the Commission by the political parties for that purpose.

“This and other mandatory requirements of the law constitute major constraints to the consummation of a successful merger before the month of August 2018 when formal activities by political parties in preparation for the 2019 general elections will commence and end in October.

“I had long predicated that pre-2019 general elections would witness realignment of political forces in the form of coalition/alliances. This is what is going on right now. Soon, some of these collaborations will be presented to members of the political parties that have concluded their Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).”

Also, a professor of Political Science, Joe Ogna, who spoke with The Guardian, said coalitions/alliances among political parties would not be enough to rout All Progressives Congress (APC) in the election.

He said that in political alliances, parties are not always committed like in merger arrangement where it is obvious to all and sundry that they are on one platform.

“The truth is that with level of exposure and quest for materialism among the political class, coalitions and alliances cannot effectively work. Parties involved are bound to falter one way or the other, thereby paving way for the party in power to have its way in the elections. The defeat of PDP in 2015 was made possible majorly because of the merger of three major opposition parties with structures on ground,” Ogna said.

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