Lagos – The Lagos State Chapter of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) on Friday said the Independent National Electoral Commission’s registration of five new political parties had widened the democratic space in the country.
Mr Kola Ajayi, Chairman, IPAC, Lagos State, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that since democracy was about choices, the coming of the new parties was good for the electorate.
NAN reports that the electoral body had on Wednesday announced the registration, bringing the number of political parties in the country to 45.
According to the Commission, 95 associations applied for registration, but it approved only five which met the constitutional requirements.
It listed the five as the Advanced Peoples Democratic Alliance (APDA), Young Progressive Party (YPP), Action Democratic Party (ADP), New Generation Party of Nigeria (NGPN), and All Democratic Peoples Movement of Nigeria (ADPMN).
Ajayi, reacting to the development, said: “The registration of the new political parties, to us, is a welcome development, and we think it will further strengthen the country’s democracy.
“This is because democracy is about choices and so, the arrival of these five new parties will provide the electorate with more options to choose from.”
He said the only concern was the similarity in the acronym of one of new parties, APDA, and that of the existing All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).
Ajayi said the electoral body should have sorted out the issue before registering the new party, as a petition had already been sent to it that the resemblance could confuse voters.
He admitted that some existing political parties were not viable, owing to poor funding.
Ajayi said the situation would be improved if government funded political parties and they also looked inward for more funds.
Malam Shakirudeen Olofin, Chairman, New Nigeria Peoples Party(NNPP), Lagos State, also described the registration as a welcome development.
He said the new parties would offer more platforms on which Nigerians could realise their aspirations.
“The registration of the new parties is a welcome development, as it will allow Nigerians to have a greater choice of alignment.
“The existing parties may not have the programmes to address some pertinent issues which the new parties might want to bring for development.
“So, it is good for democracy, it is good for development,’’ Olofin said.
He, however, urged INEC to do its best to ensure all eligible people are captured in the ongoing voter registration.
Mr Boluwaji Oshinowo, Lagos State Secretary, Labour Party (LP), however, questioned the rationale for the registration of new parties.
He said that most of the existing parties were merely existing, as they did not have the funding and other wherewithal to function well as parties.
“We already have more than enough parties in the country. The situation of most of the already registered political parties is pathetic.
“They lack funds to run as political parties, and proliferation of parties in a system where the leading ones are crumbling is not healthy for the polity,” he said.
Oshinowo said attention should be on strengthening of the existing political parties, with a view to fostering healthy democratic competition.