There are strong indications that more political parties may emerge ahead of the February, 2019 general elections, as more political associations had tendered applications for registration.
According to INEC chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, during a retreat for the newly appointed Resident Electoral Commissioners, RECs, in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state’s capital over the weekend, “the commission has received over 120 applications from political associations seeking registration as political parties’’.
Adding that, ‘’already there are 46 registered political parties and recently a Court of Law ordered the Commission to register one more association as political party’’.
‘’obviously, by the time the Commission processes outstanding applications, the number of political parties will possibly increase’’, the Chairman said.
In the same vein, as the 2019 general elections draws closer, INEC has warned that election security, especially election violence might spike in certain parts of the Country.
Prof. Yakubu, speaking further said;”closely related to the expansion of hotspots of conflict and violence, is the increasingly disturbing phenomenon of hate speech,’’ adding that, ‘’it is important to have an accurate idea of possible locations of hotspots and peddlers of hate speech, discuss these with the security agencies and examine ways to address them well before elections’’.
On the inducement of voters by money bags, he said; the disturbing incidence of use of money to openly induce voters even on Election Day. ‘’our desire is to entrench a truly democratic system for all citizens and not a plutocracy open only to the rich. Violence, hate speech and inducement of voters are criminal activities punishable under our laws’’.
The retreat also expressed concern over low turnout of voters during recent elections and insist on developing effective voter education strategies to galvanize voters to come out to vote for candidates of their choice on election day.