By Ochiaka Ugwu
A founding member of Young Democratic Party (YDP), Arch. Ezekiel Nya Etuk has in strong terms rejected the planned deregistration of political parties as proposed by the Nigerian Senate.
Arch. Nya Etuk who made this known in Abuja Sunday in a press conference noted that the decision of the Nigerian Senate to reduce the number of political parties participating in elections in the country from the current 91 to five through legislation is not good for our nascent democracy.
It should be known that the Red-Carpet-Chamber not long ago expressed dissatisfaction over the huge number of political parties in the country, especially the upsurge of parties fielding candidates in the forthcoming governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa States.
Nya Etuk, who is also the Director General of Nigeria First Project said for the good of the nation growing democracy, it might not be wise to deregister political parties.
His words, “For legal considerations, and for the good of democracy, it might not be wise to deregister parties.
“However, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) can introduce measures that ensure only serious parties are on the ballot.
“I therefore, propose that 20 parties be screened to be on the ballot through the following process. Every party will be mandated and obligated to have a register of membership in three categories: active voting members, active nominal members, and nominal members”.
Nya Etuk said that INEC should provide a platform were these members with PVCs synchronize with the INEC platform to ensure that no person registers with two parties, as the registration will carry the PVC details of the party members and such PVCs can only be registered to one party.
“The top 20 parties will be the parties that will be allowed to field candidates for the elections while others continue on membership drive so as to qualify in the next election cycle. If a party is unable to come among the top 20, putting them on the ballot is unwise” he said.
He concluded by saying that parties that are not among the top 20 should wait for the next electoral process.