Balarabe Musa Commends INEC’s Plan To Register New Parties | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Balarabe Musa Commends INEC’s Plan To Register New Parties

INEC Presents Obaseki, Shaibu With Certificates Of Return
Posted: Jul 7, 2016 at 6:15 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Balarabe Musa, former governor of old Kaduna State, has commended the plan by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to register new political parties, saying it was timely and will help the nation’s democracy.

Musa stated this at the weekend in an address he delivered in Kaduna.

He said the disclosure by Professor Mahmood Yakubu, INEC chairman, at a recent quarterly meeting with chairpersons and secretaries of registered political parties, that the commission was processing the applications for registration of 32 more political parties was in order, noting that contrary to the position in some quarters, including the press, it would strengthen rather than weaken Nigeria’s democracy.

“Rather than inheriting a restricted political party heritage, Nigeria has right from the onset of modern party politics been blessed with a vibrant and dynamic multi-party tradition”, he noted.

According to Musa, it was ingenious to think that “by restricting or whittling down the number of political parties that are allowed legal existence you are thereby ‘deepening’ or ‘strengthening’ the country’s democracy.”

“One of the fundamental causes of the existing instability and weaknesses within the present so-called big political parties is that they are carrying within them too many contradictory incompatible baggage.

“It is by opening up the democratic space and allowing sundry tendencies, interests and political persuasions to legitimately ventilate their positions that you provide the polity with the opportunity to grow in political maturity and democratic development,” he said.

Musa,  who is national chairman of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), said he was not happy with the de-registration of 28 parties by INEC in 2012 on the grounds that they either did not field candidates or failed to win seats in the 2011 general elections.

“The essential role that political parties play in a polity goes way beyond fielding electoral candidates or winning elections. Besides, Section 78 (7) (II) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), which provides that parties must win at least one legislative seat to remain legally recognised as political parties, has since been severally declared by courts of competent jurisdiction to be inconsistent with section (3) 40 and sections 221-229 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).

“This, in effect, means that the grounds on the basis of which INEC purportedly de-registered the 28 political parties in 2012 are not only totally untenable but also null and void.”

Rather than de-register parties, the PRP chairman preferred solutions to better democratic culture in Nigeria: “Curtailing the influence of money power (particularly stolen money) as the deciding factor in politics and election; elections should be free, fair and transparent and should lead to legitimate government at every level; government must not fund political parties, they should be self-reliant and independent from the contributions of their members.

“The party in power must not use public resources in any way to assist any political party; politics must not be commercialised; the present disabling atmosphere of corruption, stealing and criminal waste of resources must be stopped by any means possible.

“It is also important that we appreciate the fact that as an expression of the aggregated popular interest of the citizenry, the decision whether any political party should exist or not should not be the prerogative of any bureaucratic entity or agency (such as INEC), but that of the citizenry, expressed through the support given or withdrawn during periodic electoral contests.

“A party lacking popular endorsement will wither away with time without any bureaucratic intervention. In other words, only the electorate should have the power to decide the fate of a political party and election candidates in a democracy.”

Musa concluded by saying INEC must do the right thing at all times: “The INEC chairman and his commission should first begin by obeying the several legitimate and legal orders issued by court of competent jurisdiction ordering INEC to re-instate the registration status of those political parties that it had earlier illegally and unconstitutionally de-registered. It is simple.”