The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it will continue to recognise and deal with only the 18 registered political parties, pending the final resolution and determination of the various appeals filed and pending before the Supreme Court.
In a statement on Friday by its National Commissioner and Chairman of Voter Education and Publicity Committee, Festus Okoye, it asked the 74 deregistered political parties to await the judgement of the apex court on appeals relating to the powers of INEC to deregister political parties in accordance with section 225A of the Constitution.
The commission, however, stated that it was always ready to obey court orders and would abide by any judgement delivered by the Supreme Court.
“This statement has become necessary against the backdrop of various letters submitted to the commission recently by some of the deregistered political parties signifying their intention to conduct primaries with a view to submitting names and particulars of candidates for the Anambra Governorship election.
“The deregistered parties hinge their request to nominate candidates on the judgement of the Court of Appeal delivered on June 11, 2020,” it said.
INEC insisted that it would not issue access code to or accept the list and particulars of candidates emanating from such primaries.
It also advised the registered political parties to strictly adhere to the provisions of their constitutions on internal party administration and nomination of candidates for elections.
According to the electoral umpire, this has become necessary in view of the recent spate of complaints regarding the dissolution of the executives of state branches even where their tenures have not expired, as well as the rash of conflicting court orders with respect to party primaries and candidature long after elections have been conducted by the commission.
The electoral umpire stated that respect for party constitution and due process were cardinal to electoral democracy, adding that political parties must keep to their obligations to internal democracy and the rule of law.
“The commission uses this opportunity to appeal to all critical stakeholders to support its efforts to strengthen the electoral process.
“These efforts presently include but are not limited to the initiative to expand access of voters to polling units, resumption of the continuous voters registration, amendment of the Electoral Legal Framework, preparations for the conduct of the Anambra, Ekiti and Osun Governorship elections and some bye-elections, the deepening of the use of technology in the electoral process, as well as early preparations for the 2023 general elections,” the statement added.