Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said Nigeria may go into 2023 General Elections with over 200 political parties on the ballot papers and result sheets.
INEC’s national commissioner, Mr Festus Okoye disclosed this yesterday in Abuja at an Electoral Reform Roundtable organised by Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room and Kofi Annan Foundation.
Okoye, representing the commission’s chairman, Mr Mahmood Yakubu, also said INEC would put all recommendations made by both international and domestic observers into the overall framework of recommendations that would be sent to National Assembly for the reform of the election process.
“We are also flagging off the whole issue about the number of political parties in Nigeria. Our ballot papers are getting longer. Result sheets are getting bigger. And this is creating big challenges for voters.
“We need to have a national conversation and see whether we really need the number of political parties in existence in the country. Because, as at today (Wednesday), the number of political associations wanting to be registered can be said to be more than the number of existing political parties in Nigeria.
“The implication is that if we registered all the political associations that have applied for registration, we are going to go into the 2023 elections with over 200 political parties. I do not know whether this is really what the Nigerian people need,” he said.
However, a former chairman of INEC, Mr Attahiru Jega said the focus should not really be on the number of political parties in the country.
While speaking during the first session of the roundtable, Jega said what should be the focus should be “what should be the criteria for being on the ballot paper. We can learn from other countries in this regard. This is what we need to take home in addition to the issue of independent candidacy.”