Why Too Many Parties May Cause Problems In 2019 – INEC

Why Too Many Parties May Cause Problems In 2019 – INEC

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Added by January 30, 2018

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is predicting tough challenges associated with a large number of registered political parties.

The Commission foresees logistical issues ahead of the 2019 general elections with over 100 political associations seeking to be registered.

This worry was expressed by the chief technical adviser to the INEC chairman, Prof. Bolade Eyinla, in Abuja on Monday.

Speaking at a retreat organised by the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, Eyinla, who was representing the INEC chairman, said, so far, 68 political parties have been registered.

This, he said, raises the possibility of 68 party agents at each polling booth if all the parties present a candidate for each poll. This also means rowdiness at all polling units as each party agent jostles for space to observe the election.

“Currently there are 68 registered political parties in Nigeria. As of today, there are more than100 associations that have applied to INEC to register as political parties. This raises a number of questions which we want this retreat to address,” he said.

According to him, another probable drawback of the multiplicity of parties is the production of ballot papers.

“We are also going to be challenged if these 68 political parties and counting continue this way. We are just a commission. I cannot begin to imagine even as the technical adviser, how we will divide ourselves to monitor party conventions and primaries of 68 political parties across the length and breadth of this country.

“Already we have envisaged some of these challenges and we are coming up with strategies to deal with them in our election project plan.

“Ancillary to this is the fact that political party agents will also increase. I can imagine 68 political party agents in a polling unit. I think these are issues that we have to manage; but most importantly, how do we manage the ballot for 68 political parties?”

Eyinla said omitting any registered political party from the ballot paper could lead to the total cancellation of the exercise.

“I think perhaps one of the largest ballots that I have seen is that of Afghanistan where the ballot paper is nearly the size of a prayer mat.

“Given our level of literacy, I think that is going to be a major challenge and as we know, the question of exclusion is a major issue in the electoral process, Eyinla said.”

He urged the National Assembly to make necessary changes to the electoral legal framework latest July. This is so they do not run afoul of the ECPWAS protocol on democracy that calls for such changes to occur not less than six months to elections.

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