The Independent National Electoral Commission has explained the rationale behind the registration of 21 new political parties in 2017, bringing the total number of parties to 68.
INEC National Commissioner, Mr Solomon Soyebi, said 22 parties were issued certificates of registration in line with the order of a court to register 21 additional parties and re-register one.
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“The issue of registration of political parties is a purely legal issue and you will realise that the commission operates within the law,” he said on Wednesday during his appearance on Politics Today.
“All we are here to do is just to obey the law and carry out our duties at least within the ambit of the law.”
On the steps taken before any political party can be recognised by the electoral body, Soyebi reiterated that the registration of political parties is done in accordance with the Constitution.
He said: “INEC does not really register political parties; it is the laws of the land that register political parties. Those associations that have met the regulations for registrations were given certificates of registrations yesterday.
“If you listen very carefully to the (INEC) Chairman too, we still have about 90 more associations undergoing different screenings and processes and anybody who meets the conditions for registrations, according to the laws of the land, will be registered.”
“That was what happened today with the issue of certificates to 21 newly registered political parties; it is the law that registers not INEC,” the national commissioner insisted.
INEC had earlier announced the timetable and schedule of activities for the 2019 general elections.
According to the Commission on Tuesday, the presidential and national assembly elections will hold on February 16, 2019, while March 2, 2019, has been fixed for the governorship and state assembly polls.
Giving reasons for the announcement, Soyebi said the timetable was released earlier to avail INEC as well as the political parties and their aspirants enough time to prepare for the elections.