Five new political parties set for INEC’s registration

  • As FG plans to run 2017 Budget delay on 25% of recurrent provisions

The number of registered political parties may increase to 45 soon, with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) giving the nod to five associations to register as parties.

Presently, there are 40 registered parties.

Already, the Department of Political Party Registration of INEC is ready to forward names of the five associations to the commission’s management.

Confirming the number of applications before the commission, the Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi, said the process is still on; though he did not say how long the process will take.

It was learnt 91 associations applied to INEC for registration as political parties after the 2015 general election.

This is beside 10 fresh applications seeking information on the requirements for registration as parties.

It was also learnt 43 of the 91 associations failed the initial assessment and were contacted on their status and advised accordingly.

The breakdown of the status of other associations showed eight of the remaining associations are under initial assessment.

It was gathered 22 passed the initial assessment and were directed to pay the administrative fee of N1million to obtain Form EA1. Another 21 paid the mandatory N1million administrative fee.

Five other associations collected Form EA1, but are yet to return them for processing. Seven associations are awaiting verification and processing.

Oyekanmi said the applicants have been given the template, adding that the commission still need to meet for final consideration of associations that scaled through.

“The process is on and the number of the associations applying to register as political parties have keep increasing. Perhaps, it’s up to 90. I am sure they are over 90. It is like every day we are getting new applications.

“But you see, there is a template. It’s like the National University Commission (NUC), if you want to get licence for your university, you go there. They will give you what you should pay and if you satisfy all of these things, when you are taking your application, there is a template. When you are bringing your applications,  the first thing for you to do is to look at the template for requirements to be registered and check those things and if you are qualified, you still have to be recommended.”

He, however, said he did not know how long the process is.

Oyekanmi, who also reacted to Wednesday’s court judgement, which found one of the commission’s workers guilty of bribe, said the INEC waits for advice from its legal department.

According to Oyekanmi, “The implication, I really cannot say specifically because you know anything that will happen would have to come from the commission.

“The commission will have to meet and then decide on what to do. The court judgment was given yesterday and I think our legal department will have to get a copy of the judgment and then advise the commission on that. Then the commission will now seat to consider this thing and take the next step.

In the meantime, the Senate yesterday said the 2017 Appropriation Bill would be laid for deliberation and passage next  Tuesday.  This came against the position of the Ministry of Finance earlier in the first quarter of the year that the Federal Government would run on 2016 budget until May 5, 2017, being today.

However, against the apprehension during the week of a possible fiscal crises and government business shut down in the event that the  May 5, 2017  target was missed, a source in the Ministry of Budget and National Planning told Vanguard that though the 2016 Budget expires today, the government was allowed by law to run its recurrent expenditure as provided in the 2017 Appropriation Bill up to the tune of 25 per cent before the Bill becomes law.

But according to the Senate, the government can actually rely on the constitutional provision to continue spending tillJune 30, 2017. However, the government is not allowed to spend on the capital budget portion until the Bill becomes law.

Explaining the delay in passing the Appropriation Bill, the Upper Chamber said it was putting final touches to the 2017 document to enable it come up with a very clean budget that would be presented to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent next week. Presentation of report of the Joint Committee on Appropriations and Finance on 2017 budget was earlier slated in the Order Paper yesterday but did not happen.

Explaining the situation, leader of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, stated: “I have been informed that by the grace of God, definitely budget 2017 will be laid on Tuesday.

Having said this, Mr President,  distinguished colleagues, I will move that we stand down this report to  Tuesday, the next legislative day and I so move.” Senate Deputy Minority leader, Senator    Emmanuel Bwacha, seconded the motion.

In his remarks, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over yesterday’s plenary, said the shift of date for laying the document became imperative to allow for a holistic harmonization of the document with the House of Representatives.

Nation with additional report from Vanguard