TIndependent National Electoral Commission (INEC), yesterday, said it has received applications from 84 associations seeking registration as political parties ahead of the 2019 general elections.
Prominent among the associations seeking recognition as political parties is the Advance Peoples Democratic Party (APDP).
National Commissioner in charge of South West, Prince Solomon Soyebi made the disclosure during a media chat at the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja, yesterday.
“I can confirm to you that APDP is among the 84 associations that have applied for registration and recognition as political parties.
“However, we want to say that they remain associations as far as we are concerned. We don’t know who their parents are and where they are coming from. The rule is that they must go through the commission’s routine of registering an association as a political party,” he said.
Soyebi also disclosed that February 16, 2019, has been fixed as date for the conduct of Presidential and National Assembly elections in line with the constitution provision of 150 days and not later than 30 days to the end of incumbent’s tenure. He added that the governorship and State Assembly elections would hold on March 2, 2019.
“Our democracy is maturing and the commission believes there should be certainty with regard to the timetable for the elections. In Nigeria, the constitution provides for elections to hold not earlier than 150 days and not later than 30 days to the end of the incumbent’s tenure,” he said.
Soyebi said this was necessary to ensure proper planning by the commission, political parties, security agencies, candidates and all stakeholders.
He disclosed that the commission has received a report from the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) of the federation confirming that 23 Electoral Officers who were indicted in the investigation into the December 10, 2016 Rivers rerun elections have been charged to court.
“The commission has repeatedly said it will cooperate with security agencies for the prosecution of any member of our staff found to have violated the integrity of the electoral process. Accordingly, at our meeting today, the commission decided to apply the provisions of the INEC Terms and Conditions of Service to all those charged to court, since it constitutes gross misconduct.”
He said all the 23 electoral officers will be placed on half salary and will not report for duty pending the determination of their respective cases by the court.
“We wish to assure all Nigerians that the electoral commission will never protect any of its staff, no matter ow highly placed, found to have violated the provisions of the Electoral Act and our guidelines,” the commission warned.