YES, AUN, RAP, UP, 19 others are newest Nigerian political parties

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INEC chairman Professor Mahmood Yakubu
INEC chairman Professor Mahmood Yakubu

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, on Tuesday announced the registration of 23 new political parties, raising the number of registered parties in Nigeria to 91.

Some of the new parties bear acronyms that can be easily recalled, such as YES, which means YES Electorates Solidarity and RAP, the Reform and Advancement Party. There are also COP, standing for Congress of Patriots and UP, meaning United Patriots. One of the parties share the acronym of the American University of Nigeria, AUN in Yola. It is called Alliance for a United Nigeria.

The other 21 parties are Advanced Alliance Party (AAP), Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP), African Action Congress (AAC), Alliance of Social Democrats (ASD), Alliance National Party (ANP) and Allied People’s Movement (APM).

Also registered were Alternative Party of Nigeria (APN), Change Nigeria Party (CNP),  Liberation Movement (LM), Movement for Restoration and Defence of Democracy (MRDD), Nigeria Community Movement Party (NCMP), Nigeria for Democracy (NFD)  and Peoples Coalition Party (PCP)

Others are Save Nigeria Congress (SNC), United Peoples Congress (UPC), We The People Nigeria (WTPN) , Youth Party (YP), and Zenith Labour Party (ZLP).

The commission in a statement issued by Mohammed Haruna, its National Commissioner and Member, Voter Education and Publicity Committee, in Abuja stated that the registration of the new parties was one of  the decisions taken at its regular meeting held on Tuesday.

The commission said it received 144 applications from political associations seeking registration as political parties.

“After a rigorous process of evaluation in accordance with the Constitution and Electoral Act which included assessment of the constitutions and manifestos of the intending parties and verification of membership of their executive committees and offices, the 23 associations met all the requirements and so have been registered as political parties.

“This brings the number of political parties to 91 and will be the last round of registration of parties until after the general elections on 16 Feb. 2019.

“This suspension is in line with Section 78 (1) of the Electoral Act, which requires all applications for registration as political party to be concluded latest six months to a general election.”

The commission added that the new parties would receive their Certificate of Registration on Thursday at its  headquarters.

The Commission also approved the extension of the Continuous Voter Registration, CVR, to August 31 from August 17 it had earlier announced.

News Agency of Nigeria recalls that a civil society organisation on Wednesday, Aug. 8, urged INEC to extend the deadline for CVR to enable more Nigerians to register.

The commission said it decided to extend the exercise which commenced on April 27, 2017, truly continuous for the first time by opening permanent registration centres in all 774 Local Government offices and 672 other centres.

It said the decision was to ensure that all-year round, Nigerians who turned 18 years would have the opportunity to register.

“Consequently, the current CVR has been going on for 16 months. As at 11th August 2018, the Commission has registered an additional 12, 139,061 new voters.”

It said that in order to have enough time to clean up the provisional register and print the Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC) in good time for the elections, it decided to suspend the exercise on Aug. 17 to resume after the elections.

It however noted that many Nigerians had appealed for the extension of the exercise and as a result the decision to  extend the CVR to August 31 was taken.

“The exercise will continue in all the designated registration centres every day, including weekends, but excluding public holidays, between 9a.m. and 5p.m.

“The commission wishes to inform the public that the on-going collection of PVCs will not end with the exercise. Collection of PVCs will continue until close to the general elections. ”

The commission said it would issue Notice of Election for 2019 general elections on Friday, Aug. 17, as “the first of 14 activities in the timetable in accordance with Section 30 (1) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended).

The issuance of notice will kick-start the countdown to the 2019 general elections, which timetable was issued on January 9, the commission stated.