We lack power to deregister parties, says INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said it lacked the constitutional power to deregister any of the existing 91 political parties in the country.

The INEC Federal Commissioner in charge of Nasarawa, Kogi and Kwara States, Malam Muhammed Haruna, made this known on Monday in Lokoja while declaring open a post-election review meeting on the last general elections.

Haruna said that the clamour by Nigerians for a reduction in the number of registered parties could only be done through an amendment of the Constitution.

He agreed that the provisions in the 1999 Constitution that state that parties must be national in outlook and have headquarters in Abuja had led to unexpected problems but explained that INEC was helpless.

The Commissioner advocated a consensus among stakeholders to resolve the issue, explaining that constitutional amendment was the only way out.

Haruna identified logistics as the major challenge the INEC encountered in the process of conducting the last general elections, saying that steps would be taken to prevent a re-occurrence.

On the just-released European Union Observers’ report on the last general elections, the Commissioner said all the issues raised in the report were outside the purview of the INEC.

He said that the review meeting was organised to identify success factors in the elections with a view to consolidating and sustaining them and to share knowledge among staff and key stakeholders.

Also speaking, the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Kogi State, Prof James Apam, admitted to security lapse during the last elections in the state.

He said efforts would be made to correct this and other identified areas of failure before the Nov. 16 Governorship election in the state.