By Patrick Okohue
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that political parties which does not meet constitutional requirement before their registration would be deregistered at the appropriate time before the commencement of electioneering for the 2023 general election.
About 91 political parties are officially registered in Nigeria; however, most of the parties lack national spread and capacity to win elective positions in the country.
In most cases, these parties are often used as a bargaining tool for political patronage by their founders.
But with the conclusion of the 2019 general election, there have been increased agitation by political stakeholders for INEC to reduce the number of parties, these according to them was part of the reforms needed to sanitise the electoral system ahead of the 2023 general election.
But Festus Okoye, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voters Education Committee, in an interview in Lagos, Tuesday, said that the parties where aware of the constitutional requirement they must meet not to be delisted.
According to him, “We have power to deregister political party, at the appropriate time the commission would look at the number of political parties that we have and see which one are in violation of the provisions of their registration and in good standing.
“The moment we see any one that is in violation of the guide lines the commission would use it constitutional power to do the needful, “Okoye said.
Okoye, however, denied insinuations that the commission lacks the constitutional power to deregister non performing parties in the country, stressing that the commission would soon carry out a review to check which of them violated these provision.
“We have never said we don’t have power to delist political parties which are not performing; section 225A of the constitution gives INEC the power to delist parties which does not meet the constitutional requirement which they were registered.
“The parties know this conditions and the moment you fail any of this conditions you will be deregistered.
“If you don’t have five per cent in the presidential election you can be deregistered, if you don’t win certain number of seats in the National Assembly you can be delisted,” Okoye added.