CSO Demands Review Of Political Parties’ Registration

The Citizens Advocacy for Social and Economic Rights (CASER) on Friday called for the review of the process of registration of political parties to curb abuse of the political system.

The Executive Director, CASER, Mr Frank Tietie, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, alleged that many of the parties were formed with corrupt motives and not for political education.

Tietie also said that most of the founders of some political parties only needed a more legitimate pedestal to carry out political negotiations for personal gains rather than for good governance.

“Essentially, in Nigeria, we still run a two-party system irrespective of the 91 political parties registered.

“The fundamental human right under section 40 of the Constitution guarantees any group of persons to form political parties.

“Whereas nothing should be taken from that right, it is essential that the right should not be abused by creating problems for the electoral system.

“Now that Nigeria does not have an electronic voting system, such large number of parties on the ballot papers will end up creating more political confusion rather than political education. ”

Tietie said that most of the parties were weak and not active because they did not have any political relevance in the first place since they were formed as mere extension of political ambition of a few.

He said that most of the founders used them as a platform for political negotiations and that was why they could easily adopt or endorse candidate from another party.

He said that the parties were just for titular purposes, and that most of them needed to be de-registered.

According to a document made available by YIAGA AFRICA, on Feb. 16, 2019, Nigeria will hold elections for the positions of the president, 109 members of the Senate and 306 members of House of Representatives.

The Executive Director of YIAGA AFRICA, Mr Samson Itodo, said that in all, a total of 470 positions would contest in the first round of the 2019 elections.

Itodo said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) reported that by virtue of section 133 and 134 of the 1999 constitution, only parties with national spread could win presidential election.

He said that the contest, therefore, would be between the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

“Most political parties are weak in terms of national spread, presence and structure and therefore lack the capacity to immediately challenge the unceasing dominance by the two major political parties.

“The vast majority of the registered political parties are also weak and only able to contest in very few constituencies.

“Many of these parties are less than 20 per cent of the entire constituencies for the Senate and less than 15 per cent of the total constituencies for the House of Representatives. ”

Itodo said that from the foregoing, it is evident that many of the political parties did not have the structure to win elections at the presidential level.

He said that based on this rationale, it appeared that despite crowded races in the Presidential, Senatorial and House of Representatives contest, only five parties would likely make significant gains in 2019.

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