By Emmanuel Oloniruha
Abuja – The Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC) has commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for extending the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) from Aug. 17 to Aug. 31.
IPAC National Chairman, Mohammed Nalado, said in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the extension was an indication that INEC did not want any eligible Nigerian to be disenfranchised.
Nalado, who is the National Chairman of Accord Party, also commended INEC for registering 23 new political parties that met the requirements for registration.
He said the political parties and other stakeholders had earlier agreed with INEC to end the exercise on Aug. 17.
Nalado said this was to enable the commission to produce and distribute the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) before the 2019 general elections.
“It is (extension) a welcome development and INEC must be commended.
“This is a clear indication that the commission wants Nigerians to participate in electing their representatives and leaders in the next general elections.
“It is a good idea and it is welcomed by all political parties,’’ he said.
Nalado advised eligible Nigerians yet to be registered to use the opportunity of the extension to register and collect their PVCs so that they would not be disenfranchised in 2019.
“The Nigerian constitution clearly states the requirement for registration of a political party.
“ When an association meets the requirements, INEC has no power not to register it,’’ he said.
“I believe those political parties that were registered met the requirements. So, it is a welcome development for INEC to respect the law of the land.
“Even though it will be very cumbersome for the commission to manage 91 political parties on ballot papers, INEC still went ahead to register them,’’ he said.
Nalado, however, advised Nigerians interested in registering new political parties to check the manifestoes of existing parties and join any one that accommodates their interests in order not to confuse electorate.
“If we keep on registering new parties with the level of illiteracy in the country, it will be very difficult for ordinary citizens to make right choice of candidates.
“I am sure having lengthy ballot papers will confuse many Nigerians.
“ So, I am appealing to people to reduce the interest in seeking registration of new parties when they can join one of the existing ones,’’ he added.
Nalado also advised the newly registered political parties to support IPAC in the efforts to improve on the country’s democracy and electoral processes.