NATIONAL chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC), Professor Mahmoud Yakubu has again expressed concern that political parties continue to observe in the breach constitutional requirements guiding their registration as political parties.
The INEC chairman made the declaration on Wednesday at a quarterly meeting with national chairmen and secretaries of existing political parties in the country.
Professor Yakubu identified the areas of breach to include, lack of substantive national executive, the absence of functional national secretariat in Abuja and compliance with the Commission directive on submission of a report on their expenses after 2015 general elections.
He said: ’’Turning to the compliance status of political parties, may I once again remind national chairmen and secretaries of political parties that at our last consultative meeting, the Commission highlighted the areas of breach of the constitutional requirements for registration.
‘’I am happy to report that many political parties have responded but others are yet to take appropriate measures for full compliance.
‘’Although the Commission has since written all political parties on their respective areas of non- compliance, a summary of the responses received so far is as follows:
‘’Out of (18) political parties that were not in compliance with the requirement of Section 223 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) in respect of the composition and validity of their National Executive Committee, four (4) parties have concluded their national convention and elected new Executive Committee; eight(8) parties have submitted lists of NEC members but are yet to hold elective conventions; one party has given notice for its national convention scheduled for 10th March 2018 while five parties are yet to respond to the Commission’s letters of non-compliance.
‘’Out of seventeen political parties that have no offices in the Federal Capital Territory, (FCT) as required under section 222(F) of the Constitution, six parties have provided tenancy agreement with landlords while eleven are yet to do so; and ‘’Out of twenty-four political parties that failed to submit election expenses report in respect of the 2015 General Elections in breach of Section 92(3) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), twelve parties are now in compliance while twelve others are yet to respond.
’’I urge the national chairman and secretaries of the political parties that are not in compliance to act expeditiously as non-compliance with the constitutional and other legal requirements for their registration is a serious matter indeed.
No party should feel comfortable in breach of especially the responsive criteria for its existence.’’
Restating his Commission commitment to clean up the Voters Register ahead of 2019 general elections, Professor Yakubu pleaded with political parties to partner with the Commission in ensuring the success of the enormous task, as he noted that INEC has made it a duty to make comprehensive list of Voters Register, sixty days to general elections, in compliance with Section 10(3) of the Electoral Act.
‘’The Commission is determined to clean up the voter register of all ineligible registrants as provided for in section 12(1) of the Electoral Act, (as amended). We have displayed the list of all newly registered voters at the end of each of the three-quarters of the exercise in 2017 at various registration centres nationwide for claims and objections as required by law.
‘’We have also done the data consolidation and ran the Automated Fingerprint Identification on all the new registrants. We have carefully scrutinized the list.’’ In his remarks before the meeting dissolved into a closed-door session, chairman of Inter-party Advisory Committee, (IPAC) Mohamed Nalado, asked INEC to walk its talk in unravelling the claim of underage voting in the recent local government elections in Kano and Katsina states.
He, however, thanked INEC for making the election timetable available ahead of the election.
On the 2019 general elections, Alhaji Nalado said INEC stance to restrict itself to its earlier dates and arrangement was in order.
“We have been well briefed on order of election. What INEC has done on the order of election is in order. It is in line with the Electoral Act and the Constitution. No law is in existence that supersedes that for now. ”
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