A ballot box filled with ballot is pictured before being counted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) at a polling station in Yenagoa in Bayelsa State ~ PIUS UTOMI EKPEI
Lagos - The South-West Chapter of the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) on Monday urged the Independent National Electoral commission (INEC) to sanction parties that did not participate at the 2015 general elections.
It is reported that 19 of the 28 registered political parties in the country participated in the April 11 Governorship polls in Lagos State.
The INEC Public Relations Manager in Lagos, Mr Femi Akinbiyi confirmed that only 19 parties officially participated in the election.
The South-West Secretary of the CNPP, Mr Austin Nnorom, said that of the 19 parties in the INEC ballot paper for Lagos State, only two parties, the PDP and APC contested for the polls.
"The rest were busy endorsing the candidates of the two parties even after submitting to INEC the list of their candidates for the Governorship election.
"What happened in Lagos also happened in all the states of the South-West that we monitored during the election.
"In the South-West states where governorship elections held, we had a maximum of three political parties involved in the election,’’ he said.
Also read: 2015: INEC to sanction campaign ban violators
According to him, the acclaimed change that has come to Nigeria must be reflected in all sectors, especially electioneering.
"As a body, the CNPP frowns at political parties registered to contest elections but are more interested in using the platform to collect money from other candidates.
"Although the courts overruled deregistration of political parties by INEC, it follows that the commission must look for other ways to sanction some of these parties.
"Endorsing candidates of other parties after INEC has completed work on ballot papers is a serious crime.
"INEC should find ways of suspending parties who did not justify their registration by participating in elections or endorsing the candidates of other parties after submitting their lists to the commission.
"INEC should put up and implement effective laws to make these parties live up to their bidding as well as serve as a warning to others,’’ he said.
The CNPP secretary said that for the nation’s democracy to be sustained, INEC's searchlight should also beam on candidates and compliance to money regulations during elections.
"Most of the endorsement we saw were for monetary gains and this must not be allowed in 2019.
"Parties which do not get to the end of the game should be penalised,’’ he added.