By Omeiza Ajayi
ABUJA— Ahead of the 2019 general elections, Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has berated political parties in the country for their flagrant violations of the Electoral Act, especially with regard to financing as well as establishment of offices and constitution of their National Executive Committee, NEC.
Chairman of the commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, stated this, yesterday, in Abuja at the Quarterly Consultative meeting with leadership of the country’s 46 registered political parties.
He said: “We have 46 registered political parties but we have 108 applications from associations for registration as political parties. Seventeen of these associations have gone very far with the process.
“We want to assure all those who submitted applications to be registered as political parties that the commission will take a definite position on that latest first week of November. Those who qualify will be registered under the law.
“But for those that are already registered as political parties, I want to draw your attention to many things. The constitution is very clear on the processes and procedures for registration and you are required to comply with all the requirements.
“So, we have 17 political parties that have no offices in FCT or that their rents have expired which amounts to the same thing as not having an office in the FCT.”
On the rising costs of politics in the country, Yakubu said: “Parties are expected to submit to the commission their election campaign expenses for the 2015 general elections but as we speak, only five political parties are in compliance, while 24 other political parties did not comply.
“The case of 17 parties is understandable because they were registered after the general elections. But for parties that contested the general elections, only five complied.”
Vanguard had in February, reported that an estimated N1 trillion was spent by INEC, political parties and candidates for the 2015 elections.
While the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, expended N8.74 billion in “traceable” media and other related expenses in the 2015 elections,, all the other opposition parties expended N2.91 billion for similar activities.
Vanguard checks revealed that though Nigeria has existing financial limit in the legal framework, but this has become somehow very unrealistic because there are no enforcement framework, especially because the society is cash-based and so the capacity of INEC is still very weak in tracking and monitoring party financing.