The number of registered political parties may increase to 45 soon, with the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC giving the nod to five associations to register as parties.
Presently, there are 40 registered parties.
Already, the Department of Political Party Registration of INEC is ready to forward names of the five associations to the commission’s management.
Confirming the number of applications before the commission, the Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi, said the process is still on; though he did not say how long the process will take.
It was learnt 91 associations applied to INEC for registration as political parties after the 2015 general election.
This is beside 10 fresh applications seeking information on the requirements for registration as parties.
It was also learnt 43 of the 91 associations failed the initial assessment and were contacted on their status and advised accordingly.
The breakdown of the status of other associations showed eight of the remaining associations are under initial assessment.
It was gathered 22 passed the initial assessment and were directed to pay the administrative fee of N1million to obtain Form EA1. Another 21 paid the mandatory N1million administrative fee.
Five other associations collected Form EA1, but are yet to return them for processing. Seven associations are awaiting verification and processing.
Oyekanmi said the applicants have been given the template, adding that the commission still need to meet for final consideration of associations that scaled through.
“The process is on and the number of the associations applying to register as political parties have keep increasing. Perhaps, it’s up to 90. I am sure they are over 90. It is like every day we are getting new applications.
“But you see, there is a template. It’s like the National University Commission (NUC), if you want to get licence for your university, you go there. They will give you what you should pay and if you satisfy all of these things, when you are taking your application, there is a template. When you are bringing your applications, the first thing for you to do is to look at the template for requirements to be registered and check those things and if you are qualified, you still have to be recommended.”
He, however, said he did not know how long the process is.
Oyekanmi, who also reacted to Wednesday’s court judgement, which found one of the commission’s workers guilty of bribe, said the INEC waits for advice from its legal department.
According to Oyekanmi, “The implication, I really cannot say specifically because you know anything that will happen would have to come from the commission.
“The commission will have to meet and then decide on what to do. The court judgment was given yesterday and I think our legal department will have to get a copy of the judgment and then advise the commission on that. Then the commission will now seat to consider this thing and take the next step.
“But for me, I think at this point, we have to wait for that one to happen.
“Like today, the commission is meeting. I don’t know whether that is on the agenda. But I can assure you that when a decision is taken, we will brief the press on those decisions.”
On transfer of votes, he said the ongoing registration exercise has provided opportunity for those who have relocated to move their vote to their new locations.
He explained that those conducting the exercise have been directed to have a desk to handle the issue of vote transfer, likewise other issues.
But in a case of any complain, Oyekanmi said people were free to contact the commission through the media.
On how to check underage registration, he said the officers have the right to ask question when in doubt.
He said: “They can ask for a form of identification, when you see anybody that seems to be underage. But of course, we have the obligation to ask questions, where we are in doubt.
“To ensure that only those who are qualified are allowed to register, ordinarily, if there is no suspicion, we register you.”