The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced the registration of 23 new parties ahead of the 2019 general election.
The number of registered parties is now 91. Before the parties announced yesterday, there were 68 political parties.
INEC has extended the deadline for the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise by two weeks. The registration, which was scheduled to end on August 17, will now be suspended on August 31.
INEC will on Friday give parties the go-ahead to kick start electioneering processes.
The decisions were reached at the weekly INEC management meeting, chaired by the commission’s boss, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu.
Announcing the decision reached at the end of the meeting through a statement, Mohammed Kudu Haruna, national commissioner and member, Voter Education & Publicity Committee, said the new parties scaled through the rigorous screening.
According to him, 144 applications were received from which 23 were certified to have met the criteria for registration as parties.
The statement reads: “The commission approved the registration of 23 new parties. It received 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 the requirements and so have been registered as political parties.
“This brings the number of parties to 91 and will be the last round of registration of parties until after the general election on February 16, 2019. This suspension is in line with Section 78 (1) of the Electoral Act, which requires applications for registration as a political party to be concluded latest six months to a general election.
“The newly registered parties will receive their Certificates of Registration from the Commission on Thursday, August 16, 2018 at the commission’s headquarters.”
On the issuance of Notice of Elections, he said: “On the 9th of January 2018, the commission issued the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2019 General Election. The first of 14 activities in that timetable is the issuance of Notice of Election, which is scheduled for Friday, August 17, 2018 in accordance with Section 30 (1) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended). This activity kick-starts the countdown to the 2019 general election.”
On extension of the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR), INEC said: “In order to have enough time to clean up the provisional register and print the Permanent Voters Card (PVC) in good time for the general election, the commission, after consultation with stakeholders, decided to suspend the exercise with effect from August 17, to resume after the elections. However, many Nigerians have appealed to the commission to extend the exercise. Consequently, the commission has decided to extend the CVR to August 31. The exercise will continue in all the designated registration centres everyday, including weekends, but excluding public holidays, between 9am and 5pm.”
Haruna said 12, 139,061 million new voters have been added to the voter register in the new dispensation, which started on April 27.
He told the public that the ongoing collection of PVCs will not end with the CVR exercise. “Collection of PVCs will continue until close to the general election.”
The 23 parties and their acronyms are: Advanced Alliance Party, AAP; Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party, ANDP; African Action Congress, AAC; Alliance for a United Nigeria, AUN; Alliance of Social Democrats, ASD; Alliance National Party, ANP; Allied People’s Movement, APM; Alternative Party of Nigeria, APN; Change Nigeria Party, CNP; Congress of Patriots, COP; Liberation Movement, LM; Movement for Restoration and Defence of Democracy, MRDD; Nigeria Community Movement Party, NCMP; Nigeria for Democracy, NFD; Peoples Coalition Party, PCP; Reform and Advancement Party, RAP; Save Nigeria Congress, SNC; United Patriots, UP; United Peoples Congress, UPC; We The People Nigeria, WTPN; YES Electorates Solidarity, YES ;Youth Party ,YP and Zenith Labour Party, ZLP.