The Democratic People’s Congress (DPC) has called for stiffer conditions for the registration of political parties in the country, with a proposal that section 78, subsections 3 and 4 of the Electoral Act be amended.
The said subsections of section 78 of the Electoral Act stipulates that “any political association that meets the conditions stipulated in the constitution and this Act shall be registered by the Commission as a political party within 30 days from the date of receipt of the application and if after 30 days the association is not registered by the Commission it shall be deemed to be so registered”.
The party, in a statement, signed by the national chairman, Rev. Olusegun Peters said the 30 days clause was a clog in the wheel of effective assessment and verification of the requirements for registration by political associations as political parties.
“DPC demands the removal of the 30 days clause to accept or reject an application for registration. It should be extended to six months to enable the Commission to properly examine and verify each application and register qualified associations as political parties”, it added.
The party observed that “obviously, the framers of the 1999 Constitution and Electoral Act did not envisage the large number of applications for registration as political parties – 87 applications as at March, 2017”.
The DPC proposed the removal of the clause that says “if after the 30 days the Association is not registered by the Commission it shall be deemed to be so registered”.
The party argued that the 30 days period the commission is expected to notify a political association in writing that it has not fulfilled all the conditions for registration should be extended to six months.
The statement made available to LEADERSHIP Friday reads in part: “The political space has been liberalised with the registration of 40 political parties that will accommodate Nigerians of various political persuasions. What the country needs now is good governance, strengthening of the democratic process and visionary leaders that will led the people to the Promised Land.
“In this period of economic recession, political uncertainly and insurgency, Nigerians need security and dividends of democracy, not more political parties. The existing political parties should be supported and encouraged to develop to meet the yearnings of the populace for a decent, progressive and prosperous democratic society.
“DPC urges the National Assembly to consider this proposal and amend the Electoral Act accordingly. Relevant provisions of the Constitution should also be amended in the ongoing constitutional amendment. This is the only way we can build a strong, virile, progressive and egalitarian nation”.
INEC Presents 2017-2021 Strategic Plan To NASS
Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Yakubu Mahmood yesterday presented the 2017-2021 Strategic Plan of the electoral body to the Senate President, Bukola Saraki.
Mahmood told Saraki that the plan would guide the commission on every step to be taken in the electoral process, even beyond 2019 elections.
Noting thay the commission was working on a very clear plan to ensure the success of the 2019 general elections, the INEC chairman said, “What helped the 2015 general elections was the existence of a very clear Strategic Plan that covered the last electoral cycle. That plan expired last year.
“Last year, we began work on the new Strategic Plan to cover the current electoral cycle. It is a five-year plan covering the period 2017-2021”.
Mahmood noted that INEC had gone through all the processes of the strategic plan, including the validation of the document by stakeholders.
“The Strategic Plan comes with a programme of action so that between now and 2019 and beyond, we know exactly what INEC is going to do on daily, monthly and quarterly basis and we will be tracking. Gone are the days when elections are done on a pre-fixed basis. There has to be very clear parameters”, he said.
Commending the Senate for the quick amendment of the Electoral Act, he said that it had come well ahead of the 2019 general elections.
The commission’s chairman also observed that one of the problems facing the country is that amendment of the Electoral Act comes on the eve of elections, adding that the amendment of the Act by the Senate was remarkable because it was one of the most extensive exercises.
“We worked with the Senate Committee on INEC and we produced our own submission. I’m happy to say that virtually all the submissions we made had been taken care of”, Mahmoud noted, even as he said that the amendment was one of the “most technologically-friendly amendments of the Act in the history of the country’’.
Responding, Saraki who assured that the amendment of the Electoral Act and Constitution would help to improve Nigeria’s electoral process said the use of technology in elections would help the commission meet international best practices.
“The application of technology is something that has to happen. It gives you the power to apply that appropriately”, he said, just as he assured INEC of Senate’s support, saying that the Strategic Plan showed that the commission was committed to ensuring free and fair elections that Nigerians would be proud of.