Lawmaker urges INEC to reduce number of political parties

Lagos, Jan. 12, 2018 (TNE) A lawmaker in Lagos, Mr Victor Akande, on Friday, urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to reduce the number of political parties in Nigeria in order to make the electoral process less cumbersome.

Akande, who represents Ojo Constituency I at the Lagos State House of Assembly, gave the suggestion in Lagos.

INEC had on Dec. 14, 2017 approved the registration of additional political parties. The commission on Jan. 10, also presented certificates of operation to 21 newly registered parties, bringing the number of current political parties to 68, while more applications are being considered.

Akande argued that the ongoing amendment to the 1999 Constitution should address the multiplicity of parties because it can engender confusion and increase the cost of conducting elections.

The lawmaker noted that such multiplication will also increase the number of invalid votes during elections, even as he cautioned against violence and money politics.

The lawmaker urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to focus on the shortcomings of card readers and training of officers as it prepares for the 2019 elections, following the release of the 2019 election schedules and timetable by the commission.

According to the timetable, the presidential and national assembly elections will hold on Feb. 16, 2019 while the governorship and state assembly elections come up on March 2, 2019.

Akande urged INEC to ensure adequate preparations and training of electoral officers, saying that the card readers’ shortcomings must be overcome before the polls to enhance credibility.

“I hope that INEC has put its house in order and embarked on the training of officers who are to man equipment for optimal performance.

“INEC must settle all issues pertaining to the effective and efficient functioning of cards readers; the commission should also budget enough to prevent all complaints,” he said.

The lawmaker added that the commission should do everything possible to block all avenues of electoral malpractices and shortages of electoral materials.

Akande said that it is good that the timetable schedules came out timely, as it will afford politicians and parties ample time to prepare well.

He said that the development will also foster compliance with the constitutional provisions.

“There are about 90 days to settle litigations that might arise from the polls as proposed by the electoral law before the expiration of the tenure of office holders.

At least, three months before the expiration of office holders’ tenure, the legal warfare will have subsided if not ended, unlike in the past,” Akande said.

(TNE)

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