The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Wednesday said that the numbers of political parties waiting to be registered are more than the existing ones adding that if they are registered Nigeria would have over 200 parties in the 2023 elections.
INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, revealed this at an electoral reform round-table organised by the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room and the Kofi Annan Foundation in Abuja.
Okoye described the increasing number of political parties in the country as a major challenge to election.
He said the ballot papers are getting longer and the result sheets are getting bigger thereby creating a big challenge for the voters.
“So I think we need to have a national conversation to see whether we really need the number of political parties in existence in the country or not,” Okoye said
He called for the necessary reforms to be put in place.
Okoye also revealed that the commission had withdrawn and re-issued over 70 certificates of return after the 2019 general elections.
“As at today, the commission has a total of 809 pre-election matters while we have just 800 post-election matters, so the implication is that we have more pre-election matters than post-election.
“As at yesterday, the commission has withdrawn and reissued over 70 certificates of return that were previously issued to those who were elected into the various states and national assembly positions.
“There are more that we are still withdrawing and more that we are still re-issuing, some of these things arose from the not too transparent party primary elections that were conducted by the various political parties.
“It is really a source of concern that up till today, there are still a number of cases arising from pre-election matters in courts.”
Okoye said that one of the expectations of the commission is whether the fourth alteration to the Constitution of Nigeria would properly address the issue of pre-election matters.
He said this is because the fourth alteration, gave the court of first instance a total of 180 days within which to determine cases and issues arising from pre-election matters.