Ahead of the 2019 General Elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has received applications from another 103 political associations for registration as political parties.
A fortnight ago, INEC registered five new political parties – the Advanced Peoples’ Democratic Alliance (APDA), Young Progressive Party (YPP), Action Democratic Party (ADP), New Generation Party (NGP), and All Progressives Democratic Movement (APDM).
INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, hinted of the fresh applications when he received the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway, Mr Jens Petter Kjemprud, in his office in Abuja on Tuesday.
Yakubu said that INEC will conduct the 2019 election which will be adjudged more credible than what it did in 2015.
He disclosed that the Commission has a total of 70million Nigerians in its voters’ register, adding that about 1,040,000 citizens had so far registered since the commencement of the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise.
Yakubu said: “We now have 45 political parties. We had 40 political parties before but five have just been registered while there are 103 pending applications. We don’t know how many more we are going to register but we are a multi-party democracy and all associations that meet the criteria for registration will be registered.”
Ambassador Kjemprud commended INEC and Nigerians for the successful conduct of the 2015 General Elections. He also lauded the Commission for the steps it had taken after the election to improve on the electoral process.
He promised that Norway will do everything it can to assist INEC to deliver on its mandate.
Kjemprud invited Yakubu and his team to observe the Norwegian Parliamentary Elections and undertake a study tour of his country between September 6 and 13, 2017.
Meanwhile, 15 political parties have formed what they described as a ‘mega coalition’ to wrestle power from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
The coalition, which was launched after a meeting of the parties in Abuja, said it will agree and adopt consensus candidates at both governorship and presidential elections in Nigeria.
It noted that the mega coalition is not a merger, but an electoral alliance for participating political parties which are free to field separate candidates for councillorship, local government chairmanship, Houses of Assembly, House of Representatives and Senatorial candidates of their party, but shall collaborate at the gubernatorial and presidential elections.
The group, which named the National Chairman of the National Unity Party (NUP), Chief Perry Opara, as its Chancellor, said that it would collaborate to ensure that its adopted candidates win the governorship elections in the country, beginning with the November 18, 2017 election in Anambra State where it has constituted a committee to pick a consensus candidate.
Some of the political parties that formed the coalition are the National Unity Party (NUP), Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Democratic Peoples’ Party (DPP) and BNPP, Democratic Peoples’ Congress (DPC) and others.
On the motive for the coalition, Opara stated that it was to ensure that a credible candidate is picked to drive home the dividends of democracy to Nigerians.
Opara noted that the consensus candidate from the Coalition of Political Parties will form a government that will embrace all, adding that the winning party shall form a Government of State Unity (GSU) at the state level while at the Presidential Election, the winning party shall form a Government of National Unity (GNU) with a view to accommodating all the participating parties in the coalition.