The Independent National Electoral Commission says its resources will be taxed to the limit at elections given the sheer number of political parties in the country. The commission disclosed that there are 68 registered political parties while over 100 more are seeking registration and that nunber is expected to increase.
This is according to the Chief Technical Adviser to the INEC Chairman, Prof. Bolade Eyinla who made the disclosure in Abuja at a retreat organised by the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru. Eyinla reeled out the facts and figures while delivering a keynote address at the event, which was titled.
“Currently there are 68 registered political parties in Nigeria. As of today, there are more than 100 associations that have applied to INEC to register as political parties. This raises a number of questions which we want this retreat to address.
” He expressed doubt at INEC’s ability to monitor the congresses, conventions and primaries of all parties contesting over 1,000 elective positions each across the nation.
“We are also going to be challenged if these 68 political parties and counting continue this way. We are just a commission. I cannot begin to imagine even as the technical adviser, how we will divide ourselves to monitor party conventions and primaries of 68 political parties across the length and breadth of this country. Already we have envisaged some of these challenges and we are coming up with strategies to deal with them in our election project plan.
“Ancillary to this is the fact that political party agents will also increase. I can imagine 68 political party agents in a polling unit. I think these are issues that we have to manage; but most importantly, how do we manage the ballot for 68 political parties?
“I think perhaps one of the largest ballots that I have seen is that of Afghanistan where the ballot paper is nearly the size of a prayer mat. Given our level of literacy, I think that is going to be a major challenge and as we know, the question of exclusion is a major issue in the electoral process.
“The chairman was literally sleeping and waking with the ballot for Anambra State election to ensure that no party was excluded; to ensure that the names and logo of the parties were correct because any slip could nullify the election. So, I think there is a challenge with managing the ballot that will come with the increasing number of political parties.”