A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr Lateef Fagbemi, has advocated a new law to reduce the number of political parties in the country to six ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Fagbemi spoke on Thursday in Abuja at the on-going National Workshop on Election Petition Review organised by the Court of Appeal in collaboration with International Foundation on Electoral System (IFES).
The senior lawyer asserted that the present 86 political parties were too much for Nigerians, especially the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to cope with along with other challenges.
He said this while delivering a paper titled: “Reform of Election Litigation Process -the Constitution, Electoral Act and the Practice Directions”.
Fagbemi argued that a situation where INEC and Nigerians had to contend with over 86 political parties in an election was not healthy for any electoral process.
According to him, the trend has led to series of confusion for the electoral body and the electorate especially exclusions that are not deliberate on the part of INEC.
“I know that my position will generate reactions but the truth and reality is that political parties must be scaled down from the present 86 to maximum of six to sanitize the party system,” he said.
He said that electoral reform must not be left for politicians alone, adding that in some cases politicians were clever and would not enact laws that would make them fall victim in their ambitions.
“Let nobody be taken off guard, our electoral system needs some drastic and very unpopular rejigging and amendments to the law.
“The sui-generis nature of electoral laws also dictates that reforms to them cannot but be unprecedented if they are to be effective,” he said.
The senior lawyer also suggested that henceforth, a candidate that won an election that was being challenged in court or tribunal should be served with the petition through the party secretariat.
He said this was in view of the limited number of days stipulated by law to hear election petitions.
Fagbemi also said that experience had shown that elected governors cordoned the government house after inauguration so as to frustrate being served with petitions and other processes as required by law.
He further suggested that any winner, whose election was being challenged should have his or her emoluments slashed by half, pending the resolution of the petition.
He added that if such a winner had his or her election nullified, such a person should automatically lose the half of the emoluments.