The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has declared that internal democracy in political parties in Nigeria remains a major source of concern.
He made this declaration just as he described the recent party primaries held by political parties ahead of the 2019 election as “most acrimonious” in the nation’s recent history.
Yakubu stated this on Friday at the capacity-building workshop for journalists.
The workshop was jointly organised by INEC, European Centre for Electoral Support, European Union and European Union Support for Democratic Governance.
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Justifying his claim, the INEC boss said his commission had been joined in no fewer than 396 pending suits in various courts.
According to him, more of such cases were still being expected.
Those, he said, were apart from the 52 petitions and protests received by INEC from aggrieved party aspirants.
His words: “Unfortunately, we have also witnessed some of the most acrimonious party primaries in our recent history. Internal party democracy is still a source of concern to our electoral progress. So far, the commission has been joined in 396 pending actions in various courts across the country arising from the conduct of party primaries and nomination of candidates by political parties.
“We have similarly received 302 requests for CTCs of documents, mainly our monitoring reports of party primaries and copies of personal particulars of candidates. These requests are obviously a prelude to more court actions. In addition, we have also received 52 petitions and protests from aggrieved party aspirants.
“The implication of these challenges is that as we prepare for the general elections, we are also going to grapple with pre-election litigations.”
The INEC boss also spoke on the stiff competition for the National Assembly seats.
Said he: “For National Assembly elections, a total of 1,848 candidates (1,615 males and 233 females) are vying for 109 senatorial seats while 4,635 candidates (4,066 males and 569 females) are competing for the 360 seats in the House of Representatives.
“Similarly, the full list of candidates and their political parties will be published for public information in line with the commission’s timetable and schedule of activities.
“As for state elections, a total of 1,068 candidates (980 males and 88 females) are contesting 29 governorship positions, with 805 males and 263 female deputy governorship candidates.
“The commission is working on the list of candidates nominated by political parties for the 991 state assembly constituencies as well as the 68 area council chairmen and councillors for the Federal Capital Territory. The full details will also be published for public information in line with our timetable and schedule of activities.”