By: EDEM DARLINGTON, Calabar
The Nigerian Election Working Group (NEWG) has expressed serious concerns over what it called “proliferation of political parties” in the country.
Convenor of the group, Prof. Adele Janadu, made this known in Abuja, Wednesday after its technical meeting.
According to Prof. Janadu, part of the meeting was to assess the implications of increasing number of political parties in the country ahead of the 2019 elections as well as appraise preparations for the July 14, Ekiti governorship election.
The group observed that the conditions for political party registration is too liberal, allowing for excessive proliferation of political parties in the country ahead of 2019 elections.
” For example the current number of parties at 68 with 100 applications awaiting for registration is in reality closing down the political space for genuine political participation” the statement read.
The statement further said “such proliferation poses serious challenge both to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the electorate, especially in terms of reduction of the simplicity of ballot papers and difficulties that would arise as voters encounter challenge in finding the parties and candidates they would like to vote for on the over-crowded ballot paper”
The group also commended INEC for its preparation in the areas of voters registration and education, capacity building, training and mobilization for the July 14, governorship election in Ekiti.
While charging security agencies and government to create enabling environment for electorates and INEC to discharge their constitutional rights, the group also called on INEC to begin engagement with various stakeholders including, citizens, civil societies, political parties and the National assembly to ensure that candidates with demonstrable support get onto the ballot.