Less than 10 political parties may survive being deregistered by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should the commission decide to run with the amended constitutional provision to deregister parties.
At least, 70 parties participated in the 2019 elections, an alteration on the 1999 constitution. However, section 225 of the constitution as amended empowers INEC deregister political parties on grounds of:
“a. breach of any of the requirements for registration
“b. failure to win at least twenty-five percent of votes cast in-
one State of the Federation in a Presidential election; or
one Local Government of the State in a Governorship election;
“c. failure to win at least-
“i. one ward in the Chairmanship election
” ii. one seat in the National or State House of Assembly election; or
“iii. one seat in the Councillorship election.”
Checks by Newsmen showed that apart from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) that have won seats since 2015, Young Progressive Party (YPP), Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), Action Alliance (AA), Allied Peoples Movement (APM) and the Social Democratic Party (SDP) are the only five other parties that may scale through the new requirement.
YPP won a senatorial seat in Anambra, PRP won two seats for house of representatives in Bauchi, AA also won two seats for house of representatives in Imo, APM one house of representatives seat in Ogun and SDP also got one seat for house of representatives in Ondo state.
In a statement, Femi Falana, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), said it is clear that INEC has the power to deregister political parties that fail to meet the fresh constitutional prerequisites, and going by the results of the 2019 elections, the 91 registered political parties may have been reduced to less than 10 that may have scaled the constitutional hurdle.
Falana further argued that deregistration of political parties that fail to win elections is likely to limit the political space to the “so-called mainstream parties” that are not committed to any political philosophy or ideology.
He added that with respect to registered political parties, INEC must fully comply with section 225(2) of the constitution by sanctioning them if they fail to submit a detailed annual statement and analysis of their sources of funds and assets, as this would go a long way to check the monetisation and manipulation of the democratic process by political godfathers.