By Yekeen Nurudeen
The Democratic People’s Congress, DPC has raised the alarm over plans by lawmakers to de-register opposition parties in the country by retaining section 78(7) of Electoral Act 2010 in the on-going Constitutional and Electoral amendment.
Section 78(7) of Electoral Act 2010 provides that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, shall have power to de-register political parties on the following grounds: breach of any of the requirements for registration and for failure to win a seat in the National or State Assembly Election”.
But DPC in a letter written by its National Chairman, Olusegun Peters to Senate President Bukola Saraki described Section 78 (7) (ii) as an assault “on our emerging democracy” which according to him should be deleted.
“Participatory democracy is critical in sustaining,deepening and strengthening our frail political process. The beauty of democracy lies in its mass appeal and active participation by the people through political parties of their choice” he said.
He argued that any attempt to de-register a political party because it did not win a National or State Assembly election would amount to throwing away a baby with the bath water.
“It is inhuman, anti-democratic, oppressive and counter-productive in our desire to build a better democratic nation” he said.
Peters urged the National Assembly to be fair, firm,decisive and patriotic in considering various proposals for the amendment of the Constitution and the Electoral Act to ensure democratic ethos and ideals are sustained and retained.
He also enjoined them to reject proposals that will de-register political parties sponsored by retrogressive and reactionary forces that want to retard and impede Nigeria’s hard earned democracy.
“All registered political parties should be given the freedom to flourish or fizzle out based on the people’s acceptance or rejection of their manifestoes.
“It will be justice juxtaposed to de-register a promising political party because it failed to win a Legislative seat in elections that are often marred by gross irregularities and violence,” he pleaded.