The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday presented certificates of registration to the 23 newly registered political parties.
Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, while presenting the certificates to the parties at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja, urged them to respect their constitutions, the Electoral Act and abide by the commission’s guidelines and regulations.
Yakubu tasked the new political parties to conduct open, transparent and inclusive primaries in order to give Nigerians greater choice add value to the electoral process. He said the registration should be seen as opportunity for the new political parties to exercise their critical roles in the best interest of growing the country’s democracy.
While congratulating the leadership of the newly registered political parties, Yakubu said they were free to field candidates in elections, including the 1019 general polls but added: “Since the commission (INEC) has closed nominations for the Osun governorship election, none of you can sponsor a candidate.”
Yakubu disclosed that the formal commencement of activities for the 2019 elections that start today (Friday August 17) with the publication of notice for the polls, adding that INEC has already concluded arrangements to that effect across its offices nationwide as required by law. While assuring that INEC would work closely with political parties, Yakubu expressed worry over the rising trend of vote buying. He, however, said with effect from the forthcoming Osun governorship poll, the commission would change the way pooling units are administered and re-strategize with security agencies towards arresting and prosecuting those involved in vote buying.
Chairman of Inter-party Advisory Council (IPAC), Mohammed Nalado, thanked INEC for registering more political parties, adding that the development would open the political landscape and create more opportunities for Nigerians to elect their representatives in government.