The crisis in INEC is further compounded by a court judgment today directing the electoral body to register a new party three weeks to a make or mar presidential election in the country.
With about three weeks to the commencement of the 2015 general elections, a Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission to immediately register the Young Democratic Party as political party.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed made the order in his judgment on the suit filed by the party, challenging its denial of registration by INEC.
The judge held that YDP was deemed registered when INEC failed to inform the then political association of its decision not to register it as a political party within 30 days of receiving its application, as required under Section 78 (4) of the Electoral Act, 2010.
INEC was said to have received the association’s application on April 1, 2014 but only notified the applicant of its decision not to register it on September 15, 2014.
Political analysts however, express the fear of creating loopholes for litigation after the March 28 and April 11 elections as it would be almost impossible to include the name of the new party on the ballot papers for the elections. Analysts The Street Journal spoke with opined that the judgement would create logistic difficulties for INEC to meet the desire of YDP. ”In essence, are they saying all the ballot papers already procured by the electoral body should be discarded with in order to accommodate the new party?”, a political scientist at the University of Ibadan, Dr Akeem Adeola asked rhetorically.
It was argued that any duly registered party whose name was missing on the ballot papers on the day of elections has a good ground to vitiate the outcome of such elections at the electoral tribunal.
The embattled INEC hierarchy who would be meeting today to review the deafening rumour of its Chairman, Prof Attairu Jega’s fate and take a definite position going forward, would have more on its agenda to contend with. The meeting of the commissioners and Jega, it was gathered was motivated by the presidency’s resolve to use the Commissioners to pass a vote of no confidence on Jega as a prelude to his exit from the commission.
Prominent members of PDP led by former Federal Information Commissioner in the first Republic, Edwin Clarke had been at the vanguard of the call for Jega’s removal. In spite of President Goodluck Jonathan#s repeated denial of such move, the rumour became continuously resounding until the House of Representatives came out with a resolution against Jega’s removal until after the expiry of his tenure in June to avoid creating a national crisis in the polity.