INEC Registers Five New Political Parties



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Spends N463.227m on CVR

From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has registered five new political parties, on the grounds that sponsors met the registration criteria and constitutional requirements.

National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Prince Adedeji Soyebi, disclosed this after a weekly meeting of national commissioners in Kaduna.

The newly-registered parties are Young Progressive Party (YPP), Advanced People’s Democratic Alliance (APDA), New Generation Party of Nigeria (NGP), All Democratic Peoples Movement (ADPM) and Action Democratic Party (ADP).

INEC has also said it has spent N463.227 million on the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration (CVR).

Speaking during a retreat on Mid-Quarter Review of CVR, held in Kaduna, yesterday, INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed the Commission considered three options before settling for the less expensive option of executing the CVR through its Local Government Area (LGA) offices.

“This is the first time, in the history of elections, in Nigeria, that INEC is embarking on a continuous registration of voters in the manner prescribed by the Electoral Act.

“Although Section 9 (6) of the Electoral Act empowers the Commission to determine registration centres and notify the public what is the best method for achieving the goal of making the exercise both continuous and accessible, the Commission considered three options.

“Polling Unit (PU) level, Registration Area (RA) or Ward level, INEC Local Government Area (LGA) offices or such other places as may be determined by the Commission. A comparative analysis of the options shows that while the indicative cost of polling unit is N137.467 billion, the cost of registration area is N21.030 billion, while  INEC LGA offices are N463.227 million. The Commission decided to commence the exercise at LGA level, based on the following considerations;

“The provision for CVR in the Commission’s 2017 budget is N1,216,346,068 for all VR activities, including off-season elections that have become regular since the 2015 general elections. The LGA level is the only affordable option that can be accommodated within the current budgetary allocation.

“The Commission adopted a quarterly approach to the exercise in order to allow for the publication of names of new registrants (minimum of 5 and maximum of 14 days) for claims and objections as required by law (Sec. 19[1] of the Electoral Act). This sequence shall continue until 60 days to the 2019 General Election when it will be suspended as required by law (Sec. 9[5] of the Electoral Act). It will resume after the general elections.
“The aggregate of these challenges have been articulated by the Commission and will be presented to this retreat by Director (Voter Registry) for consideration, discussion and suggestion.Special consideration (the case of Anambra State). The CVR will be devolved to RA level, as was done in off-season general elections in Kogi, Bayelsa, Edo, Ondo and FCT Area Councils elections. The date will very soon be announced by the Commission

“The aim of the on-going CVR exercise is to give all eligible Nigerians who have not registered the opportunity to do so and those who had issues from previous registration exercises the chance to address them

“Taking the exercise to the doorsteps of Nigerians is ideal but the cost and other requirements are huge obstacles. NEC is committed to the CVR as enshrined in the Electoral Act and ensuring that all eligible Nigerians are registered to vote,” said Yakubu.

Meanwhile, INEC resolved, after a two-day workshop in Kaduna, to partner with other regulatory agencies and professional bodies to ensure compliance with agreed code of conduct and statutes, especially with regards to the incidence of incitement and hate speech.

A communique from the workshop “stressed on the need to enhance feedback mechanisms with inbuilt monitoring and evaluation system, premised on an inclusive and participatory approach, through regular engagement and strategic communication with stakeholders, to positively influence opinion and solicit understanding, support and buy-in on major Commission decisions.

“It also emphasised that the delivery of messages should take into account the socio-cultural, religious and linguistic diversity, as well as the population mix and peculiarities of our political environment and electoral system.

“Taking into cognisance all extant status and provisions, the revised policy should develop, manage and sustain innovative and proactive communication capacity to promote internal cohesion, public trust, common vision and values. The Commission will also partner with other regulatory agencies and professional bodies to ensure compliance with agreed code of conduct and statutes, especially with regards to the incidence of incitement and hate speech.”    (The Sun)

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