By CLIFFORD NDUJIHE
CHAIRMAN of the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties, CNPP and National Chairman of the National Action Council (NAC), Dr. Olapade Agoro, has described as empty threats by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to deregister political parties that perform poorly in the 2011 polls.
Section 78 (7) of the Electoral Act empowers the electoral umpire to de-list political parties that fail to win at least a seat in the state Houses of assembly or National Assembly.
The section states: “The commission shall have the power to de-register political parties on the following grounds: breach of any of the requirements for registration; for failure to win a seat in the National or State Assembly election.”
At a meeting with leaders of the parties last August, INEC Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, said the commission would de-register political parties that do not win at least one national or state legislative seat in accordance with Section 78 (7) of the Electoral Act. “I should also note that under the section, INEC may also cancel a party’s certificate of registration where there is false or misleading information to its registration.”
Currently, about 20 parties including NAC are on the cliff-hanger for failing to beat INEC’s January 31 deadline for submitting their candidates’ list for the April general polls. And more are expected to go under after the polls.
Reacting to the issue in a statement yesterday, Agoro said, “the news gaining ground of INEC ‘s plan to deregister some political parties in particular National Action Council simply for not fielding candidates for proposed elections 2011 already fraught with illegalities, court actions and uncertainties is an empty boast of a reckless character widely dancing on the pin head of lies, falsity and rascality.”