11 October 2021
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AHEAD of the 2023 general elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission has expressed concerns over the absence of internal democracy, lack of inclusivity and marginalisation of women, Persons Living With Disabilities and youths.
The election management body demanded for improvements in these areas and expressed a willingness to register more political parties ahead of the 2023 elections.
Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, who was represented by the National Commissioner and Chairman (Outreach and Partnership Committee), Dr. Adekunle Ogunmola, said this during the annual summit of political parties and stakeholders with the theme: “Political parties and democratic stability in Nigeria: Setting agenda for 2023 general elections,” in Abuja, on Friday.
The aim of the summit, was to set the agenda for the 2023 election and to educate political parties about 2023.
The programme was organised by the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies in Kuru, Jos in partnership with the European Union; Political Parties Leadership and Policy Development Centre; EU Funded Programme, Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria and other partners.
During the event, the Ag. Director-General of NIPSS, Brig. General Chukwuemeka Udaya (retd.), reminded politicians that “election is not a do or die affair.”
He said, “Annually, European Centre for Electoral Support trains political parties and the whole essence of this particular summit is to set the agenda for the 2023 election and to educate political parties that come 2023, it is not a do or die affair. It is all about political inclusion, democracy and governance for Nigeria.
“What we want political parties to take home from this training and summit is for all Nigerians to reduce the divisions; there are deep divisions and it is the responsibility of the political parties to bring the country together, forge the country on and set agenda for elections come 2023.
“The agenda are clear, there are security issues, there are economic issues and these are the things we want political parties to discuss come 2023.”
In his remarks, Ogunmola said, “…There are several gaps like internal party democracy, inclusivity; the need for more women to be involved, the need for the youths to be involved; the need for PWDs to also be involved, not only as voters or party members but as leaders of political parties and also as elected representatives of political parties.”
Speaking on the possibility of registering additional parties before the 2023 elections, he said, “There is nothing in our books that says we should not continue to register political parties provided they meet the requirements.
“So, as many associations that are desirous of getting registered, INEC will be prepared to register them except they fail to meet the requirements.”
The Project Coordinator of ECES, Hamza Fassi-Fihri, said the annual summit of political parties was really important as it affords the parties in Nigeria an opportunity to gather and discuss issues of common interest not only for them but for all Nigerians.