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INEC registers five new political parties

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• EFCC arraigns ex-Rivers REC over alleged graft

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday announced the registration of five new political parties ahead of the 2019 general elections.INEC’s Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr. Adedeji Soyebi made this known at the end of the commission’s meeting in Kaduna.

The new political parties, according to Soyebi, are Young Progressive Party (YPP), Advanced Peoples Democratic Alliance (APDA), New Generation Party of Nigeria (NGP), All Democratic Peoples Movement (ADPM) and Action Democratic Party (ADP).

This brings to 45, the number of registered political parties in the country.According to Soyebi, “At present, 95 associations have applied to the commission for registration as political parties. Two of the associations voluntarily withdrew their applications.

“The commission today approved the applications of five of the associations which have fulfilled the constitutional requirements for registration.” On ongoing nationwide Continuous Voter Registration (CVR), which began on April 27, he said that no fewer than 760,989 voters had so far been registered nationwide.

He explained that the figure was made up of 59.5 per cent of males and 40.5 per cent, females, adding, “So far, 31,808 persons have collected their PVCs while 34, 560 others applied for transfer of Polling Units.”

He said that due to budgetary constraints, INEC could not currently decentralize the voter registration to the Registration Area level, adding, however, that due consideration would be given to certain areas with peculiar challenges.Soyebi stated that the commission had noted the challenges encountered so far, and was addressing them.

In view of the Anambra governorship election scheduled for Nov. 17, Soyebi said that the CVR would be decentralized to the Registration Area (Ward) level from Aug. 10 to Aug. 16.He added that the same consideration, at the appropriate time, would be given to Ekiti and Osun ahead of governorship elections in the states in 2018.

Meanwhile, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday arraigned the embattled former Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of the INEC in Rivers State, Gesila Khan, for allegedly obtaining a gratification of over N180 million from yet to be named person(s), while serving as the State REC, during the 2015 general elections.

Khan was arraigned before Justice Sailu Saidu, of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt and the court has fixed Friday, June 9, to hear submissions on the bail application of the embattled REC who has been under investigation for several months, by the anti-graft agency.

The trial Judge, Justice Saidu, adjourned the matter till Friday for hearing, saying that Khan’s application was not yet ripe for hearing. Her counsel, Mr. S. Larry, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), represented her in court.

Recall that Khan was arrested by the anti-graft czar in 2015, and detained in its South-South cell for several months.She was later granted administrative bail, but was, however, picked up from her Bayelsa hometown by EFCC operatives on June 4, and charged to court after conducting “thorough investigations”.

The court, however, ordered that she should remain in the custody of the EFCC till the next adjourned date, though the anti-graft agency opposed to the decision of the court.


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Adedeji SoyebiINEC

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