The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD-West Africa) has finalised its plan to bring together political parties, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and political party expert to deliberate on the increasing number of political parties in Nigeria and access to ballots in the 2019 general elections. The event, slated to hold on the 15 May 2018 at Sheraton Hotel and Towers, FCT-Abuja, will be organised under its flagship programme, the Nigerian Political Parties Discussion Series (NPPDS).
The right to freedom of association as espoused in the Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution (as amended) is a global practice. Together with the landmark judgement by the Supreme Court in 2002 that invalidated INEC’s qualifying rules, more political parties emerged in the country’s political scene which further re-emphasizes the country’s quest for multi-party democracy. Ahead of the 2019 general elections, the number of political parties has increased from 38 in 2015 to 68 parties while over 100 political associations are seeking registration from INEC. While this may be considered as a sign of political development, some have argued that it may challenge smooth conduct of free, fair and credible elections in 2019. In different fora, for example, the electoral umpire averred that parties’ proliferation will lead to production of long ballot papers that could possibly confuse voters on Election Day. Additionally, INEC posited that the cost implication of monitoring all parties’ congresses, conventions, and primaries contesting for over 1,400 elective positions across the country may be unbearable, amongst other logistic problems.
However, the argument for a limited number of political parties raises fundamental questions about the country’s search for an improved democratic process. Thus, through the NPPDS platform, panelists will robustly discuss the current wave of increasing number of political parties in Nigeria; examine challenges it potentially has on the conduct of the 2019 general elections; and explore ways through which INEC, political parties and other stakeholders could address any challenges that may emerge. Panelists at the event would include:
- Idayat Hassan, Director of the Centre
- Chief Peter Ameh, National Chairman, PPA
- Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, National Publicity Secretary, PDP
- Abdullahi Bolaji, National Publicity Secretary, APC
- Okechukwu Ibeanu
- Adele Jinadu
Signed: Idayat Hassan