Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Tuesday registered 23 new political parties thereby bringing to 91 the number of political parties that will contest next year’s election.
The new parties are Advanced Alliance Party, Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party, African Action Congress, Alliance for A United Nigeria, Alliance of Social Democrats, Alliance Nation Party, 7Alliance People’s Movement, Alternative Party of Nigeria, Change Nigeria Party, Congress of Patriots, Liberation Movement, Movement for Restoration and Defence of Democracy. The others are Nigeria Community Movement Party, Nigeria for Democracy, Peoples Coalition Party, Reform and Advancement Party, Save Nigeria Congress, United Patriots, United People’s Congress, We the People Nigeria, Yes Electorates Solidarity, Youth Party and Zenith Labour Party.
INEC’s national commissioner and member of voter education and publicity committee, Mr. Mohammed Haruna, said on Tuesday in Abuja that leaders of the new parties would receive their respective certificates of registration at the commission’s headquarters on August 16.
He said the commission received a total of 144 applications from political associations seeking registration as political parties.
“After a rigorous process of evaluation in accordance with the Constitution and Electoral Act which included assessment of the constitutions and manifestos of the intending parties and verification of membership of their executive committees and offices, the 23 associations met all the requirements and so have been registered as political parties,” the statement read.
“This brings the number of political parties so far registered to 91 and will be the last round of registration of parties until after the general elections on 16th February 2019, the statement added. This suspension according to INEC is in line with Section 78 (1) of the Electoral Act, which requires all applications for registration as political party to be concluded latest six months to a general election.
“The newly registered political parties will receive their Certificates of Registration from the Commission on Thursday, 16th August 2018 at the Commission’s Headquarters,” he said
Haruna also announced the extension of continuous voter registration by two weeks.
The commissioner said the deadline for registration was initially fixed for August 17 in order to have enough time to make all necessary preparations before 2019 but after several appeals by Nigerians, the extension was considered.
He said as at August 11, the Commission had registered an additional 12, 139,061 new voters and the exercise will continue in all the designated registration centres until August 31.
Haruna said registration will take place every day between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm except on public holidays.
Despite the extension, Haruna said INEC will go ahead with the issuance of notice of election scheduled for Friday.
“On the 9th of January 2018, the Commission issued the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2019 General Elections. The first of 14 activities in that timetable is the issuance of Notice of Election, which is scheduled for Friday, 17th August 2018 in accordance with Section 30 (1) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended). This activity kick-starts the countdown to the 2019 general elections,” he said.