THE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said it may begin consideration for deregistration of political parties that performed woefully in the just-concluded general elections after the review of the entire exercise.
Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman Mr. Kayode Idowu, who said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja yesterday, added that the commission’s immediate focus was to have a comprehensive review of the elections before looking into other aspects associated with the electoral process.
Idowu said although the commission had the power to deregister political parties based of their election performances, it often waited for issues around the elections, especially petitions at tribunals, to be settled.
“For instance, some people have gone or will be going to the tribunal. We have to wait for the verdict that could emanate from those kinds of things,” he said.
Section 78 (7) (I & ii) of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended, empowers INEC to deregister parties “either on the breach of any of the requirements for or for failure to win presidential or governorship election or a seat in the National or State Assembly elections”.
Idowu said the provision to deregister political parties was still in force, stressing that it had not been removed “even though the commission has proposed an amendment to it since 2012’’.
He added that INEC had proposed that rather than deregister political parties, they should be allowed to exist and “criteria for them to be on the ballot paper will be provided.”
“The proposal is that if a party wants to be dealing with climate change in the corner of a local government, even in a ward, let the party go on.
“But you provide the criteria not to have logistic difficulties in just having long ballot papers of parties that are largely not functional.
“That has been the position of the commission before, but the provision of the law as we have it now is still that political parties can be deregistered; but that will come later.
“That is not what the commission will be thinking of in the immediate because it has to do a review of the election,’’ he added.
He stated that the commission had already begun the review process of the elections, saying: “As we speak, a committee has been inaugurated to write a report on 2015 general elections and that committee is at work.
“Only on Tuesday, the commission met to do a very decisive review on what has gone wrong.’’
Idowu added that the commission leadership would sometime in May meet with directors and electoral officers as part of the review process.