The Special Representatives of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa, Mohammed Ibn Chambas, says the high number of political parties in Nigeria is worrisome.
Chambas stated this during a courtesy call on the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, in Abuja.
Chambas said, “So, we came here seeking to be part of that conversation going forward and we will particularly be interested in a number of issues, such as the number of political parties, mode of registration, internal democracy, and accreditation of party agents which the chairman of INEC himself has already identified.
“The number of political parties in certain elections in our West Africa and Sahel sub-region has posed a challenge recently and it is not only here in Nigeria that we need to look at the issue of the number of political parties and their mode of registration.
“Recently in Senegal, this same challenge was faced; they have found their manner of dealing with it. Next door in the Republic of Benin, when they were confronted with as many as 249 registered political parties, they have also tried to find their way to handle this issue.
“In the last elections in Nigeria, many of you will recall that there were 73 presidential candidates. I am not talking about registered political parties but presidential candidates. With the usual Nigerian people, some people even referred to the ballot paper as a tablecloth on account of its length and breadth.
“Of course, that also has its own challenges and for countries in our sub-region, presenting them with such long list of candidates sometimes distracts them from the quality of the process and informed decisions by the electorate.
“So, these are legitimate issues that we want to be part of this conversation that has been initiated by the INEC chairman.
“The UN wants to be part of that preparation. We want to always see in what way we can be useful. How can we support, how can we facilitate, how can we be part of the process which strengthen the capacity of INEC to better deliver in future elections?”