The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Thursday said that the 23 newly-registered political parties will not be allowed to participate in the September 22, 2018 governorship election in Osun State as the deadline for submission of candidates has passed.
This is just as INEC announced that all political parties could on Saturday begin holding party primaries in preparation for the 2019 general election, which will begin in February.
The INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, said this in Abuja shortly after handing certificates to the newly registered parties.
He said, “The 23 political parties emerged out of 144 applications received by the commission so far from associations seeking registration as political parties. I wish to congratulate the chairmen and leaders of the new political parties for meeting the criteria enshrined in the constitution for your registration as political parties.
“Needless to add, from today, you are recognised as political parties under the law. From today also, you have equal status with any political party in Nigeria. This means you can sponsor candidates for elections including the 2019 general election.
“However, since the commission has closed nomination for the Osun State governorship election holding on September 22, 2018, none of you can sponsor a candidate for that election. From today, you are also members of the Inter-Party Advisory Council.”
The INEC boss urged the new parties to honour their party constitutions and abide by INEC’s regulations, the Electoral Act and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
He said the elections are 183 days away and, therefore, called on the parties to conduct peaceful and credible primaries which would deepen democracy.
On the election timetable, Yakubu said, “The formal commencement of activities for the 2019 general election will begin on Friday (today) with the publication of Notice of Poll. Already, the commission has concluded arrangements for doing so in all our offices nationwide as required by law.
“This will be followed by the conduct of party primaries beginning from Saturday, August 18, 2018, till October 7, 2018. I wish to assure you that the commission will continue to work closely with all political parties.”
On the issue of buying of votes, the INEC chairman said it had become the number one problem of the commission.
He said the electoral body was already coming up with strategies that would make it almost impossible for vote- buyers to see the ballot papers of voters.