Chuks Okocha and Alex Enumah in Abuja
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, yesterday called for the limitation of political parties to a maximum of six as part of measures to bring sanity to the country’s political system ahead of the 2023 general election.
According to Fagbemi, the present 86 political parties are too impracticable for Nigerians, especially the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
He made the suggestion when spoke at the on-going National Workshop on Election Petition Review in Abuja.
The workshop was organised by the Court of Appeal in collaboration with the International Foundation on Electoral System (IFES).
In his paper titled: “Reform of Election Litigation Process: The Constitution, Electoral Act and the Practice Directions’, Fagbemi argued that a situation where INEC and Nigerians would have to contend with over 86 political parties in an election cannot augur well for any electoral process.
He disclosed that the trend had led to series of confusion for the electoral body and the electorate, especially exclusions that were not deliberate on the part of INEC.
According to the SAN, “I know that my position will generate reactions, but the truth and reality is that political parties must be scaled down from the present 86 to a maximum of six parties to sanitise the party system.
“Having as much as 86 political parties is too unwieldy leading to confusion and exclusion that may not be deliberate on the part of our electoral body.”
He pleaded that the electoral reform must not be left alone for politicians “because nothing good may come out of it,” adding that in some cases, politicians are clever and will not enact laws they may fall victim to in their ambitions.
“Let nobody be taken off guard; our electoral system needs some drastic and very unpopular rejigging and amendments to the law. The sui-generis nature of electoral laws also dictates that reforms to them cannot but be unprecedented if they are to be effective,” Fagbemi said.