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What to do with multiplicity of political parties – Nigerians speak

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Voters at Egbeda, Lagos

In the just concluded general elections, it was a rowdy affair due to the unprecedented number of political parties on the ballot paper. Many have blamed the contentious 1999 Constitution as amended and the Electoral Act for removing encumbrances that easily enable political associations to be registered as political parties.

Around five political parties were registered in 1979 and in 2019, more than 90 parties battle for power. The boom in political parties has nothing really to do with Nigeria’s immense diversity. Rather, formation of parties has become a platform for influence peddling and is also an amazingly lucrative enterprise.

Former president of the Ijaw National Congress (INC) and professor of political science, Kimse Okoko, has blamed multiplicity of political parties on the extant electoral laws and absence of well-articulated ideological parameters as prerequisite for political participation.

He stressed that since the 1999 Constitution guarantees freedom of association, lots of those parading themselves as political actors without any reasonable means of livelihood could just wake up to form a party for elections, obviously hoping that something beneficial will come out of it.

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“If the Constitution is not changed to take care of this madness, we will continue to experience proliferation of parties. If parties were based on ideologies, that alone will reduce the number of parties to a manageable number. But because parties are not based on ideologies, that is why you have this multiplicity of parties”

“But if you have parties formed on the based on ideology you may not even have up to six political parties. But in the absence of any ideological parameters you will expect to find this, plus the fact that the Constitution itself is so loose and allows this kind of things to happen.  If we base parties on ideologies, I don’t see how we can get more than six political parties in this country. Some of them will be on fringe,” he said.

Okoko observed that proliferation of political parties makes it extremely difficult for most of them to have any meaningful influence or impact on the electoral process. According to him, major parties are not aware of the various leaders of the mushroom parties, let alone wanting to go and negotiate with them for any kind of support.

Similarly, Professor of political science, Eme Ekekwe, has decried the existence too many parties. He noted that in principle that may look right because it seems to support the whole idea of freedom of association, but the aim is defeated when the numbers become meaningless, when the system end up giving people choices which were not meaningful.

A political analyst and medical expert, Dr. Appollus Josiah, has argued that the multiplicity of parties is unhealthy because they tend to confuse voters in making their choice. He insisted that the maximum number of parties should not exceed five and that INEC should deregister most of the parties

“I don’t believe in excessive number of political parties. The politicians in the major political parties go around to float numerous small parties that have no presence in most states. They are a distraction in the political process,” said Josiah.

The executive director of ‘We the People’, Mr. Ken Henshaw, who has been on campaign against vote buying said it has become imperative to review the criteria for registering political parties. He emphasised that one of those criteria should be how those parties performed in the last elections.

“The reality is that the number of political parties is making the process too cumbersome and expensive for the system. It is also important to note that to a large extent, the problem is that of INEC. Part of the criteria is that parties must register appreciable presence in states of the country. We know that most of those parties do not have such presence, but INEC went ahead to register them. INEC needs to also clean up its processes.”

A teacher in the Department of Sociology, University of Port Harcourt, Dr. Sofiri Peterside, said involvement of large number of political parties in elections makes the process cumbersome.

He pointed out that some of the so-called parties do not even+ have offices, adding that INEC should use the 2019 elections to conduct assessment of the political parties who were unable to win election in order to ultimately deregister them. He further called for an amendment of the Electoral Act, to make provisions for the standard required before a party could be registered.

In Delta State, there seem to be a consensus that any of the party that did not win any elective position at the federal and state levels should be delisted.

Oghenejabor Ikimi, human rights lawyer, said the country does need over 90 parties in spite of its diversity and to enhance the electoral process. He stated that the prevailing scenario of multiplicity of parties was a fall out of the deformed electoral process in the present day polity.

“Our elections since the present democratic dispensation has been a joke. All that our present political leaders need do is to implement the Justice Uwais, Lemu and Ken Nnamani electoral reform report/recommendations. If not, we shall continue to grope in political electoral darkness”

“Should our political leaders fail to seize the opportunity to reform our electoral process, a generation would definitely come to reform our electoral process and our generation would be referred to in electoral history as the dark age,” he said.

Frank Oseya, an activist, said INEC fielding over 90 parties was a total waste of both time and resources, that it made the entire process even clumsy. To him about 10 parties are okay.

Oseya said: “In addition to being a waste of both time and resources, it worsens the lack of ideology of our politics and encourages the mercantilist bent of our politicians. It has become a business thing: float a party and once you get passed registration, you begin to enjoy subventions and donations. It has rendered our entire electoral process very unwieldy and cumbersome as we saw just now in the 2019 elections. This number must be pruned down drastically.”

On his part, Prince Abugo a political analyst, said many of the parties are “platforms for confusion and legal opportunism” and that a few parties are better, stressing that any party that does not win a seat at the local government or state should be delisted.

But in Cross River State, stakeholders have expressed divergent views over the number of parties. Some are of the opinion that the number of parties is not necessarily the problem, but the nature of politics in the country. Others argued that multiplicity of parties did not serve any good purpose but rather created confusion for the electorate.

A political analyst, Mr. Cletus Obun, declared that the trouble with multiple parties is the aimless, needless and tactless attempt by some of these parties to contest every election. He stressed that in every plural democracy, parties confine themselves to areas of interest and influence. Regrettably, he said the reverse is the case in Nigeria due to the nature of her polity and politics.

“Some political parties go for local government elections, others go for state and federal parliament elections. Yet, others contest for both governorship and State Assembly seats as well as presidential and National Assembly positions. The smaller parties can then support the bigger parties through lobby and negotiation. In return, parliamentary committees and executive appointments are conceded.”

Obun said it was ridiculous for parties that can barely attract councillorship candidates to field governorship and presidential candidates. He noted that this attitude by some political parties is a complete distraction to the democratic evolution of Nigeria. According to him, proliferation of political parties needed to be moderated.

But a constitutional lawyer, Leonard Anyogo, is of the opinion that the country should practice two party system and if need be, allow for independent candidacy, which was one of the recommendations contained in the 2014 national political conference report that has not seen the light of the day.

“The minimum party a country should get is two parties, which we have practiced before, that was in the era of NRC and SDP. But you know Nigeria is a multicultural State, so that is why we are allowed to have multi-party democracy. If you qualify to have a minimum requirement of the law, you are allowed to establish a political party but unfortunately, with the greatest respect, I think this has been abused. I think personally that 91 political parties are unhealthy, it is unthinkable and it is unworkable. The challenges were very noticeable in the last general election where ballot papers were just cumbersome and most times it is so confusing for the electorate to know which party to vote”

Anyogo narrated that despite being literate he found it difficult to differentiate the political parties’ logos in the just concluded elections. He wondered what would have been the fate of those who are not literate enough to spot the different parties. He urged INEC to avail itself of relevant sections of the law that enables it to delist some of registered parties that have not met some requirement of the law.

Also in Akwa Ibom State, while some in the academia and in active politics support the idea of pruning down numbers of parties, others in the legal profession are of the opinion that restricting the number of parties will infringe on the fundamental rights of free association as guaranteed by the constitution.

For Dr. David Adams, a senior lecturer in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration, University of Uyo, the idea of having up to 90 political parties is uncalled for.

He described some of the parties as ‘mushrooms’ that do not even have offices in most of the states except Abuja in order to obtain INEC’s registration.

“Nigeria would have had at least four to five political parties so that they can spread. In Akwa Ibom how many of these 90 parties have we seen here, so it is not good for the country.

“Therefore, the body responsible for approving parties should delist some of the parties. Do you know there are parties that did not record up to 1,000 votes in the entire nation in the last general elections? So delist them and allow only parties that have won at least a seat either in the federal or state Assembly,”he said.
Adams said reducing the number of political parties would also reduce the financial burden on INEC in the conduct of elections in the country.

Prof. Emmanuel Onwioduokit of the Department of Economics, University of Uyo, said INEC get rid of ‘mushroom’ parties from the political space.

“In fact, from the experience in the just concluded general elections, we should have not more than ten political parties because outside APC and PDP, other parties did not score up to one million votes. Most of these parties came up when government used to give them incentives, but now, there is nothing like that. Yet, many of them came up knowing too well that they are not going to win elections, they came to create platforms for negotiations, he said.

The immediate past INEC Commissioner for Edo State, Aniedi Ikoiwak, has canvassed for a legislative amendment of the electoral act, to prune down the number of political parties to two or five in the country.

He said a situation where over ninety political parties were registered for an election and only two or three of them made significant impact depicts a total waste of resources.

“The ballot paper in the just concluded general elections was littered with names of parties that could best be described as ‘village associations’ without having the national coverage as stipulated by law,” he said,

However, former chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association chairman in Akwa Ibom state, Mr. Ekanem Ekanem, said any attempt at limiting the number of political parties would go contrary to the constitutional requirement of free association.
“The Constitution allows every individual the right of association, so if we make any attempt to limit the number, we will be infringing on people’s constitutional rights. So we should allow as many political parties as possible.

“The party that is not viable will naturally fizzle out on their own, as we have seen in the last elections where only two parties were prominent. In America, we have many parties, but the ones we know and hear of are the Democrat and Republican parties, but there are other parties in America that we don’t know of. We should allow parties to be formed and people will associate with the party they want,” he said.

John Nwobodo, lawyer and Enugu State Chairman of Social Democratic Party (SDP) has this to say on whether to deregister parties or not.

“The first legal provision on deregistration of Political Parties post 1999 general election is contained in section 78(7) of the Electoral Act, 2010. The section contains two grounds for deregistration viz: (1) breach of any of the requirements for registration (2) failure to win Presidential or Governorship election or a seat in the National or State Assembly election.

First of all, it is important to say that the right to form or belong to a Political Party is a fundamental human right enshrined in section 40 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended). In the said section, it provides, every person shall be entitled to assemble freely and associate with other persons, and in particular he may form or belong to any political party…for the protection of his interest.”

“The introduction of the deregistration clause in the Electoral Act, 2010 was greeted by mixed reactions. While some hailed it, others deprecated it. The National Conscience Party (NCP) was the first to challenge the legality of section 78(7)(ii) in Court. Hon. Justice Abang of the Federal High Court Lagos in its judgment of 6th March 2013 held the provision to be legal and valid. However, the Court of Appeal Lagos in a judgment delivered on 24th July 2015 declared section 78(7)(ii) unconstitutional, null and void. Thus, in the case, NCP & Anor. v  National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria & 2 Ors. (2016) 1 NWLR (Pt.1492) 1 CA, the Court of Appeal per Chinwe Eugenia Iyizoba, JCA in declaring section 78(7)(ii) as inconsistent with the Constitution and null and void stated:

“I reiterate once more that there is nothing in section 221-229 of the Constitution prescribing that the continued existence of a recognised political party depended on its ability to win at least a seat in the National or State Assembly. There is no quarrel with section 78(7)(i) which empowers the Commission to de-register a political party on the ground of breach of any of the requirements of registration. But deregistration under section 78(7)(ii) for failure to win at least a seat in the National or State Assembly is a different ball game. There is no constitutional backing for the provision.”

Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Mahmood Yakubu (Photo by Pius Utomi EKPEI / AFP)

Relying on the de-registration clause, INEC on 18th August 2011 deregistered Seven political parties namely: DA, NAC, NDLP, MMN, NPC, NEPP and NUP. Similarly, on 5th December 2012 INEC deregistered 28 other Political Parties, ostensibly due to failure to win a election. The Fresh Democratic Party (FDP) challenged its deregistration at the Federal High Court, Abuja. Justice Gabriel Kolawole in a delivered judgment in March 2013 restored the registration of FDP. In the same vein, the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) took out an action at the Federal High Court, Abuja, which court presided over by Justice Adeniyi Ademola on 16th December, 2015 restored the registration of PRP.

In Barrister Jezie Ekejiuba v. INEC & Anor. (2016) LPELR-40926 (CA), the Court of Appeal, Enugu Division per Tom Shaibu Yakubu, JCA most succinctly stated:

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“I am of the considered opinion that if the framers of the 1999 Constitution, having provided for the recognition of political associations which could metamorphose to political parties through the processes of registration by the 1st respondent pursuant to section 222 of the Constitution, had the mind that the registered political parties could be de-registered, the conditions for such de-registration would have been spelt out in the Constitution. In order words, since the conditions and processes involved before a political association is registered as a political party by the 1st respondent are clearly spelt out in section 222 of the Constitution, similarly the processes and conditions for a de-registration of a political party by the 1st respondent, if that was in the mind of the framers of the Constitution, the same would have been clearly set out in the Constitution.”

The two Court of Appeal decisions placed side by side oppose each other in some respects. Both decisions are to the effect that INEC cannot deregister a Political Party on the ground of failure to win election. However, there is dissonance in the interpretation of section 78(7)(i) which borders on deregistration on the ground of breach of any of the requirements for registration. NCP’s case approves of that ground, whereas Ekejiuba’s case struck it down. The Court in Ekejiuba’s case reasoned that if the intention of the framers of the Constitution was that a political party could be deregistered under certain conditions, it would have provided for same.

Nwobodo added that Sections 222-227 of the Constitution comprehensively set out conditions for managing parties. The ground of breach of any of the requirements of registration has six items as contained in section 222 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

He said: “Without argument, the large number of political parties that participated in the 2019 General Elections created logistics challenges for INEC including cost, space and time. For example, 73 Political Parties were on ballot for the Presidential election. This is the largest number that we have witnessed in any election in Nigeria. Apart from the two dominant political parties -APC and PDP, the performance of the remaining 71 political parties was a huge joke. They made no impact in terms of the share of the votes cast. Also, the large number of parties in the Presidential election made collation of results.

“We can tell how many political parties are able to escape the INEC sledge hammer of deregistration. How many that participated in the Presidential election won at least twenty-five percent of the votes cast in one state of the Federation? With the exception of APC and PDP no other Party did. How many parties that participated in the Governorship election in the 29 states where won twenty-five percent of the votes cast in one Local Government Area of the State? Again, with the exception of APC and PDP, no other Party did. Judging the political parties on the basis of seats won in the National Assembly, only 11 Political Parties were successful. The successful Political Parties are APC, PDP and YPP in the Senate and APC, PDP, APGA, ADC, AA, PRP, APM, SDP, ADP and LP in the House of Representatives. For the House of Assembly, the seats revolve around APC, PDP and a couple of other political parties within the group of 11 parties that won seats in the National Assembly or perhaps a few other political parties outside the 11. From the foregoing, it is a sore narrative that a paltry 12 percent of the 91 registered political parties will survive when INEC is determined to prune the numbers.

“The Independent National Electoral Commission should rise to clear the political space by deregistering the ‘sickler’ political parties in accordance with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended). This should be done as soon as the 21 days of presenting election petition elapses. Section 285(5) provides that an election petition shall be filed within 21 days after the date of the declaration of result of the elections. INEC has a duty to maintain a healthy balance in the political environment by ensuring that parties, which are too weak for competitive party democracy are not allowed to loiter the political space creating political nuisance.”

In Imo State, some respondents told The Guardian that multiplicity of parties gave room for variety of political participation, while others held the view the huge number of parties is creating confusion and waste of resources.

For Special Adviser to Governor Rochas Okorocha on Re-orientation, Jude Ugbaja, the existence of 91 political parties is outrageous, cumbersome, confusing and difficult to manage on the ballot paper. He opted for only five political parties.

For Ohanele, who interacted with The Guardian from Switzerland via phone on Wednesday, said the existence of 91 political parties could create space and opportunity to belong to any party of choice. Though, he was handicapped in the justification of ballot paper issue as raised by Ugbaja.

Programme Director of Development Dynamics (a non-governmental organisation), Dr. Jude Ohanele said: “You cannot prune the number. I am of the view and I associate myself with those who want the parties to remain. The only thing is that we have to define how they will be on the ballot paper. If we define it and manage it well, fine. Any group that wants to register is free.”

For the Imo State chairman of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), Ben Duru, the situation created opportunity and political space for individuals angling for elective offices to choose any of the parties.

He said: “For me, it is an opportunity for aspirants to move around when they are not favourably treated in certain parties.”

Enwerenem said: “We should have five, six or seven political parties, not 91 parties. Let us take a cue from the Second Republic when we had five. But it is not wonderful to have only tow parties.

In Oyo State, Seun Alarape, an ad hoc staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) served as an Assistant Presiding Officer (APO) in one of the polling booths at Inalende, Ibadan at the just concluded presidential and governorship elections.

She was busy throughout the election assisting persons who couldn’t read that formed the bulk of electorate to identify and vote for their preferred political parties.

The size of the ballot paper did not only intimidate voters, but also discouraged some that ended up thumb-printing anyhow, out of frustration. This was one of the reasons many votes were cancelled.

In the process, however, Alarape aroused the ire of party agents, who accused her of misdirecting the voters. Consequently, she was stopped from assisting the voters. At the end, about one third of total votes cast in that polling booth were cancelled.

But this experience was not peculiar to Inalende, as there were many polling units in the South West, where voters had to rely on Polling Officers (PO) or party agents to identify political parties and their symbols on the ballot paper.

For instance, out of the 91 political parties, only six had elective seats at national and state Assemblies.

A public analyst, Dr. Babatunde Adegbite said Nigerians should not be worried about the multiplicity of political parties, as they help to avert crises and killings that would have arisen when aspirants are denied tickets in parties without any alternative to realise their ambition.

He said: “We have to weigh the advantages of multiple political parties against registering few ones that will narrow down politicians and people’s choices.

“In Britain and U.S., there are many political parties aside the two that have been winning elections since 1945. Some have never won an election, but they are still there. It’s the people’s choice that made two parties popular. The same thing is evolving in Nigeria. Very soon, those unknown parties will die a natural death.”

Another social analyst, Architect Kola Ogunleye said while the 1999 Constitution allows for easy registration of political parties, Electoral Laws must do something to check abuse of the process that almost “made nonsense of the last elections by making electorate go through difficulties in casting their votes.”

He said: “Unknown to Nigerians, registering a political party has become a big business, where the office and membership are hidden from the public. But those who registered the parties hawk them and eventually sell to politicians with deep pocket for a price, or they wait for the opportunity to endorse the candidate of a big party for a fee. We must stop this. How do you describe a party that did not win a single seat in the national or state House of Assembly? It has become too unwieldy and INEC must do something about it.”

Still speaking on the abuse, an Ibadan based politician, Sam Ogunkeye disclosed that members of his party, the National Action Congress (NAC) were shocked when posters of the condemned criminal, Reverend King flooded Abuja, Lagos and some other states as the party’s Presidential candidate, after the party had announced it was not fielding a candidate for the election.

He said: “The party’s National Chairman, Dr. Olapade Agoro quickly denounced it and wondered why his party would endorse someone on the death row as its Presidential candidate, when the party had publicly declared its decision not to field a candidate.”

The NAC chairman said Nigeria has become a laughing stock in the global community, when about 70 presidential candidates paraded themselves, thereby creating more challenges for the electorate.

Agoro said INEC must retrace its step by sanitising the system.

He said: “I have gone through global political records and discovered it is only in Nigeria that such a large number of parties are officially allowed to participate in a national election to the detriment of political system and development of democracy.

“Is it not ridiculous and strange that we have succeeded in creating more problems for ourselves, when we approved registration of an over-bloated number of parties? Even when we had a few, we had a lot of problems managing them.”

He urged INEC to go back to the drawing board and set fresh criteria that would pave way for reduction of parties participating in future elections to free the system from parasites calling themselves political parties.

On his part, a political scientist, Prof. Dhikirullahi Yagboyaju, said: “Multiplicity of political parties is as an indication that democracy is growing in Nigeria. It is part of the essentials of democracy, as it partly enables freedom of association.

“INEC has done well by registering political parties that fulfilled the requirements for registration. However, it is obvious that the high number of political parties caused a lot of difficulties for voters in the recently concluded elections. Even literate voters had difficulty tracing the names and symbols of their choices. So, more stringent requirements may be necessary for party registration and fielding of candidates.

“For example, newly registered political parties may be asked to operate for the first three elections without fielding candidates.
Parties may also be registered as local, regional or national in the first place and upgraded with time, except if existing parties are fusing into one. Existing parties can also be reduced in status, based on the number of parliamentary seats and states they control.”

Also speaking on the issue, a professor of Political Institutions at the University of Ibadan, Prof. Remi Aiyede, who said he did a study on it for elections study technical working group last year, said: “The current number of political parties and the very high number of applications for registration of new parties raises some concerns about the proliferation of political parties and the implications for election management, for free, fair and credible elections, voter choice and effective representation, political party development, and the advancement of democracy and development in Nigeria.

“Political parties are middlemen that act between government and citizens. They are significant actors in politics, as they help structure issues and policies. Too many small parties, which have come to characterise politics across the world, are not helpful to the performance of parties in playing these roles. Such parties are not likely to hold sufficient political problem-solving capacity, in addition to other challenges they pose for election management, coalition formation and voter choice.

“Hence, there is a case for reduction of the number of political parties. However, this should be done without serious trade-off on the requirements of free association, effective and open electoral competition.

“Party deregistration or bans are not very effective ways of checking the oversupply of political parties. Forcing candidates or political parties to demonstrate some level of support before being allowed to contest elections benefits voters, parties, election management and effective governance.”

A lawyer and public affairs analyst, Mr. Fatai Akinsanmi said: “No freedom is absolute. Registration of many political parties, even when many cannot boast of one single House of Assembly member, is like a mockery of democracy and freedom of association. We do not need such number where illiteracy is high.”

Some political analysts have attributed the high number of voided votes to the long lists of political parties. For instance, there was a huge number of rejected votes, which stood at over 1.2 million representing about 4.5 percent of the total votes cast during the last presidential election.

Commenting on the large number of political parties, Mr. Ojo Sunday, a politician resident in Ado Ekiti, noted that disgruntled members of existing big parties registered many of the new parties as ‘Plan B’ or fallbacks.

He said: “These parties go into hibernation as soon as election is over and may die due to lack of funding, while some will resurrect few months to another general election.

“I think the National Assembly should work expeditiously on the amendment of the Electoral Act to make conditions for party registration stringent, as well as ensure that existing parties are reduced to the barest minimum.”

Barrister Femi Olajide said INEC should not be blamed for the development, as the electoral umpire was merely obeying the law.

He said: If Nigerians are displeased with the number of political parties, they should encourage their representatives at the National Assembly to amend the Electoral Act to specify the number of parties they want. The political class should be blamed for its obsession of forming parties. Politicians lack party discipline. This is why they move from one political party to the other like nomads. The National Assembly has its work cut out for it, and the lawmakers must be ready to amend the law to reduce the number of political parties.

In his submission, Dr. Gbenga Jegede of the University of Ado Ekiti said the number of registered parties is a reflection of the malaise afflicting the country.

He said: “Just as there are proliferation of political parties, so also there are proliferation of churches. Even though some churches are half empty in our locality, you soon see another one springing up less than two metres away.

“Politicians in this part of the world have trader’s mentality. They see politics as buying and selling. Those who established these parties want to sell party tickets to aggrieved politician who lost out in their former parties.”

The university don said those registering the parties are drawing inspiration from those who have used such platforms to make huge money, citing a political party that a popular politician adopted in Ondo State, which instantly made the party’s owner/Chairman a millionaire and celebrity to buttress his point.

Across the 18 councils and 3,009 polling units in Ondo State, only the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), Social Democratic Party (SDP) and African Democratic Congress (ADC) won elective posts into the national and state Assemblies.

Speaking on the implication of the unwieldy number of parties, the President of Movement for the Survival of the Underprivileged (MOSUP), Mr. Dappa Maharajah, noted that the registration of multiple parties is a mockery of Nigeria’s democracy.

He said: “It describes us an unserious people and nation. In advanced climes, you can’t find such situation in their political system. It messes up the system here and gives room for political layabouts. It was a bait by an unscrupulous ruling government that has the electoral body in its control, to whittle down the strength of the opposition.

“Clearly, it is a potent weapon to cause confusion among the people and permanently put them in disarray. Any tyrant government is always a formidable force, so, it becomes a blow against strong opposition.”

But a lawyer and expert in political matters, Mr. Faseesin Olasumbo, said it is not entirely wrong to have multiple political parties.

He said: “It is not also wrong to have diverse individuals expressing their interests via available political platforms. INEC couldn’t have acted ultra vires the provisions of Electoral Act and the Constitution.

“Consequently, over 90 political parties and more are registered by INEC and no law says otherwise. It is not within INEC’s powers to refuse, reject or decline registration of political parties that met all conditions of registration.

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“So, it was right that INEC registered these political parties. To de-register these parties on the ground that they couldn’t feature a candidate that won election may not be in the interest of democracy, which we purport to practise.

“So, INEC as a body may even register more and be adequate in its functions as a truly Independent body. Otherwise, the system becomes a fluke.”

He, however, blamed INEC for the shortcomings; bottlenecks and administrative inefficiency that rocked the last election, saying it failed in its statutory duties to ensure polls were successful.

“The complexity, notwithstanding, it is not unusual in a democracy to live above two party system and allow pockets of expression via other platforms.

“What we need is a body that can manage these complexities, using technological innovation to meet exigencies. Perhaps, this is what is provided under the Electoral Act. The system must grow and evolve new capacity in the administration of the body.

The buck, therefore, stops on INEC’s table and not the multiplicity or complexity of political parties, whether as registered or, otherwise in the practical exercise of its powers to administer the entire process.”


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