TQM report,

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has indicated that new political parties might be registered ahead of the 2023 general elections.

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, who was represented by its National Commissioner and chairman (Outreach and Partnership Committee), Dr. Adekunle Ogunmola, said this in Abuja at the weekend, during the annual summit of political parties and stakeholders. This year’s summit was themed: “Political Parties and Democratic Stability in Nigeria: Setting Agenda for 2023 General Elections.”

The Commission also expressed concern over a lack of internal party democracy, inclusivity, marginalisation of women, persons living With disabilities and the youths, adding that political parties should close these gaps.

While expressing optimism that it would register more parties before the next general election, the commission stated that it hopes the challenges facing the country would not be a threat to the 2023 election.

Ogunmola said, “I think this kind of summit is important in the sense we had appraised the political situation in the country with the way the political parties play their roles and we found some gaps that we need to fill and that is the purpose of this type of summit, so that what they are able to gain from here, they capitalise it and improve the polity.

“Well, there is nothing in our books that says we should not continue to register political parties provided they meet the requirements. So as many associations that are desirous of getting registered, INEC will be prepared to register them except they fail to meet the requirements.

“Our trust is in God, we have had similar situations in the past and we have been able to overcome and we do hope that this time around, the 2023 election will be far better than previous elections.”

On his part, the Director-General of Nigeria Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Brig. General Chukwuemeka Udaya (retd.), advised political parties to make their party processes more open and inclusive to accommodate women and youths.

While pointing out some of the shortcomings in the polity, Udaya said parties needed to reform their operations to ensure more women and youth participation.

“There are several gaps like internal party democracy, inclusivity; the need for more women to be involved, the need for the youths to be involved; the need for People Living With Disabilities (PWDs) to also be involved, not only as voters or party members but as leaders of political parties and also as elected representatives of political parties,” he said.

Udaya also advised political actors not to see elections as do or die affairs.

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“What we want political parties to take home from this training and summit is for all Nigerians to reduce the divisions; there are deep divisions and it is the responsibility of the political parties to bring the country together, forge the country on and set agenda for elections come 2023.

“The agenda are clear, there are security issues, there are economic issues and these are the things we want political parties to discuss come 2023″, he said.

The aim of the summit, was to set the agenda for the 2023 election and to educate political parties.

The programme was organised by NIPSS, in partnership with the European Union (EU), Political Parties Leadership and Policy Development Centre , EU Funded Programme, Support for Democratic Governance in Nigeria and other partners.

The Project Coordinator, European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES) , Hamza Fassi-Fihri, said the annual summit of political parties was important as it affords the parties in Nigeria, “the opportunity to gather and discuss issues of common interest not only for them but for all Nigerians because the political framework in Nigeria and by virtue on the constitution the political parties are the only institutions recognised to have the ability to nominate candidates for political office.”

“So political parties are the interface between citizens and their representative institution in the country; so it is important for political parties not only to be aware of this responsibility but to do everything they can do to be close to the citizens, to allow citizens have this participation guaranteed and to ensure inclusivity in the political electoral processes” he emphasised.

The chairman, Inter-party Advisory Committee (IPAC), Dr. Leonard Nzenwa, said one of the key agenda of the organisation would be, “to make sure that the internal democracy that will lead to the emergence of candidates are done better this time around.”

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