The Independent National Electoral Commission has begun its constitutional responsibility of conducting the verification of the status of political parties in the country.
The Director Election and Party Monitoring, Hajiya Hawa Habibu, made this known when she led INEC’s Election and Party Monitoring Team on a visit to the National Chairman of the All Progressive Congress, Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje.
Habibu said the visit was part of the commission’s annual verification of political parties.
She said, “It is a constitutional mandate of the commission. Basically, we are supposed to find out and issue notices where political parties are not in compliance with the constitutional provisions.
“As to the number, structures of the party in terms of office in Abuja, auditing of their finances and other issues.
“The team will go round to verify the offices with our forms to give us the structure of the party as to whether the Electoral Act provision of minimum of 24 members of different states of the federation and the FCT has been compiled with.”
She added that the team would also verify the party’s audited account.
“The last time we had this verification was in 2019 and there was COVID-19 in 2020, we had so much activities in 2021 and 2022.
“And it has become pertinent that we have to do so now to verify political parties to ensure that the compliance status are in order. These are basically our assignments,” she said
Responding, Ganduje commended INEC for effectively handling the country’s electoral process in spite of challenges.
Ganduje, while speaking on violence before, during and after elections, said the electoral umpire could not be blamed for election violence, adding that politicians must be held responsible.
“I know one of the biggest problems of INEC in conducting elections is insecurity. Everyone will say INEC, but it is the politicians,” the APC national chairman said.
He described the visit as historic and a day of reckoning and accomplishment in terms of the relationship between INEC and political parties, particularly the APC.
“There is no doubt, it is important for INEC to undertake such visits so that they can obtain the viability of political parties in the country,” he said.
He added that this was critical for planning and record keeping which were part of the commission’s duties as provided by law.
He assured that the APC was a strong party, adding that it was ready to provide all the information the commission may require.
“We want to make our party a very strong institution as required for the development of democracy.
Therefore, we have decided to make our party active throughout the year not only during elections.,” he said.
Ganduje added that all the party’s offices from wards, Local Government Areas, zones and states had been directed to remain functional.
He said arrangements were being made to make the party ICT compliant.
“We have directed for e-registration of our members and we believe that will help us to partner with INEC. This will help us in planning and identify member’s sex and age bracket.
“It will also help us to know the qualification and professions of our members as well as identify their rights from ward level to the national level.
“We are developing what we call the National Institute for Progressive Studies in order to teach our members the basics of democracy so that the issue of hate speech will be eliminated,” he said.