INEC Finally Passes


Dedicated to Nigeria's socio-political issues




October 3, 2007 - December 2, 2007



LUNARPAGES.COM and IPOWERWEB.COM - Despicable WebHosts - Read My Story




INEC Finally Passes Some Constitutional Tests



Mobolaji E. Aluko, Ph.D.


December 29, 2002



In several previous essays, I have had very good reason to inveigh against Dr. Guobadia’s “Independent” National Electoral Commission (INEC) for its many inept moves and anti-democratic/unconstitutional infractions as it prepared towards 2003.  It is therefore only fair for me to now commend “able Abel” Guobadia’s INEC for its two recent moves:  the registration of 24 additional parties (bringing the total to 30), and the announcement of proposed 2003 election dates.




We will recall that three parties [AD, PDP and A(N)PP] had been given full registration on December 14, 1998 under Justice Ephraim Akpata’s INEC regime.  Three additional ones [APGA, UNPP and NDP] were registered by Guobadia’s INEC on June 23, 2002.   This led to significant protests by the unregistered parties, led by NCP’s Gani Fawehinmi, that landed everyone before the Supreme Court.  Following that apex body’s favorable ruling (of November 8; followed by a clerical error correction of November 21) which eventually forced INEC’s hand to register more parties, out of 29 or so additional parties that then sought registration, 24 were eventually registered on December 3, 2002, and then 2 more on December 17, 2002.  In fact, I am almost certain that the 3 unregistered parties can still be registered if they comply with the very liberal rules of the Constitution which the Supreme Court eventually insisted must be followed to the letter by INEC.


In short, INEC is now reluctantly what it is supposed to be in the first instance:  a facilitating, democratic recordation body for political parties, as distinct from a hurdle-setting, anti-democratic registration office.


That is how it should be.  A thousand flowers of parties should be allowed to bloom, so that the democratic space can be expanded both for candidates and the electorate.  The political temperature is clearly going to be reduced, since candidates that do not get nominated in a particular party - even if they were schemed out of nomination - can test their personal popularity at the polls by getting nominated in another party.   That is already happening, where frustrated gubernatorial aspirants in particular – and not a few presidential hopefuls - are defecting in hordes and droves to other willing parties.  Most importantly, 30 parties are now officially allowed to present human monitors at each polling station, making it more difficult to bribe so many agents when compared with 2 or 3 previous participants.


These advantages, I believe, offset the difficulties for INEC in organizing as many as 30 political parties within the short time that it has, and for a largely illiterate electorate in deciding among 30 potential participants in any given election.  Apart from the delayed funding from the federal government, INEC invited some of the troubles on itself by wasting time in fighting the National Assembly and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in going to court for clearly illogical reasons.  Secondly, it is most likely that not all political parties will feature in all polls anyway.  Finally, if there can be, according to some accounts, as many as 23 political parties in tiny Sierra Leone, 36 parties in Israel, 40 in Senegal, 43 political parties in South Africa, 48 parties in the tiny new country of East Timor (recently carved out of Indonesia), 50 parties in war-torn Yugoslavia, not to talk of 41 major parties and 620 minor parties in India, why not a mere 30 in Nigeria? 


So let INEC go to those countries – we will pay the $1000 per day estacodes waiting for the officials back at home – to see how they do organize multi-party elections successfully there.


All in all, the registration of political parties is a boon to Nigeria’s democracy.




Having been made by the Supreme Court to abandon an initial effort to fix the dates of local government elections, INEC, working under the National Assembly’s 2002 Electoral Law, has now also finally come up with a set of dates that pass constitutional muster. These dates in 2003 are as follows:


            12 April: National Assembly (House and Senate) elections

            19 April: Presidential and state governors’ elections

26 April: Possible run-offs

3 May: State assemblies’ elections

             29 or 31 May?:  President and other elected officials hand over [‘twas May 29 in 1999]


It was wise for INEC to abandon its earlier attempt to make presidential elections come first in order to attempt to make a bandwagon effect favor the presidential incumbent.  It would not have been unconstitutional, but it would have unnecessarily heated up the polity.  In any case, we must not forget history:  the whole attempt by INEC then, tele-guided we suspect by the presidency, was REALLY to ensure that the LOCAL GOVERNMENT elections (first mooted for May 2002, then August 2002, and now postponed till most likely in February 2003) did not come BEFORE presidential nomination exercises. This was because there was the fear that President Obasanjo would still not fare well in his South-West constituency during the local government elections (just as he did not do well in 1999), which would have given his political “enemies” within PDP additional fodder to diminish and probably deny him his PDP presidential candidacy.  That fear has now abated since there is NO WAY that the LG elections will occur before February 2003, which will be way after ALL the parties including the PDP would have chosen their presidential nominees.


It is likely though that the most probable PDP candidate President Obasanjo will do better in the South-West in the 2003 presidential elections than he did in 1999, if the 2003 elections were indeed to hold. 


Don’t ask me why – or why not.


Going back to the dates themselves, I can affirm that these dates are constitutionally kosher, as they are in broad consonance with what I once suggested in an essay back in December 2001, when the issue of local government elections were still in the mix, viz:



            On Electoral Law 2001, Election Re-Ordering and LG Tenure

            Mobolaji E. Aluko, December 17, 2001

There is an interesting point to be noted here.  As presently constituted, the election dates present different opportunities for the nation as a whole and for the states, for the president and for the governors.  In the first instance, the results of the April 12 national elections might provide the electorate a rationale for choosing, on April 19, a president that can work well with the National Assembly.  On the other hand, the governors chosen on April 19 might determine how the states’ electorates vote on May 3 for assemblies that would work well with the already chosen governors.   Those are distinctions with some differences.



Stubbornly, I still believe that the upcoming 2003 elections should be staggered,  with some elections taking place in 2003, and others postponed till 2004 and 2005, to ensure that we don’t do all of these elections – from local government to presidential - in the one same  year, within a two month period, again and again and again.  My suggestion would require extensions for some of the offices as I have detailed in an article entitled

MONDAY QUARTERBACKING: Staggering Our Electoral Process

Mobolaji E. Aluko, June 18, 2001


I trust that eventually some people will listen – but time is running out!




Despite these two qualifiedly-good moves, INEC still has a lot of issues to address before a successful set of elections in 2003 can be organized, otherwise I fear that they may be postponed.  The steps it should take are as follows:


  1. To further restore the badly-shaken confidence in itself, it should invite one representative each from the 30 parties, as ex-officio, non-voting members (observers) in all of its meetings.  Ideally, these party nominees should have been official, voting members of INEC in the first instance, but that may require a constitutional amendment – or the enactment of a new law – that we may not have time for at this time.


  1. INEC should release without further delay the registration list resulting from its earlier exercise of September 12 – 22, 2002, and commence a new one without further delay, now that more people may be motivated to register in the presence of more political parties.  In fact, this is a key demand of the new parties.  Actually, I fear that the original list may not be more than 20 – 40% accurate, what with the massive fraud perpetrated at the registration centers.  In effect, an entirely new registration exercise might really be in the offing, with identification, verification and duplication-elimination steps being taken to prevent fraud.


  1. The local production of polling boxes (which would boost our metal and carpentry industries), and the local printing of ballot papers (to boost our local printing industry) should be commenced right away.  If we cannot make our own polling boxes and ballot papers, we might as well not be a country.


  1. The CLEAR and UNAMBIGUOUS designation of POLLING BOOTHS/sites should be accelerated, so that there be no doubt where people will go to vote come election date.  In particular, schools and market places, as well as outside churches and mosques, should be so designated.


  1. The issue of emphasizing the importance of human POLLING MONITORS DESIGNATED BY PARTIES, and the absolute necessity of their presence at ALL polling stations and requirement for them to SIGN result papers must be made clear.  It is this one issue that will most ensure the credibility of the results.  INEC should also begin right away to accredit both domestic and foreign NGOs (eg the Transition Monitoring Group TMG ,Transparency International, Carter Center, etc.) that may wish to act as polling monitors.


  1. A pledge must be given by INEC that any “mago-mago, wayo-wayo” reported in ANY polling station will invite a TEMPORARY CANCELLATION of those election results. Only a ONE-TIME attempt to carry out new elections in those polling stations - provided new elections might affect the overall outcome - should be allowed.  Another failed attempt should result in OUTRIGHT cancellation of elections in those polling stations.


  1. Results should be announced ON THE SPOT, at the voting sites, before being sent to a collation center.





These seven obvious steps – which are standard in other democratic countries - coupled with any others that might be dreamed up, will go a long way to ensuring free-and-fair elections come 2003, otherwise the scale of violence might be unimaginable due to the high-stakes involved, particularly due to the surprisingly late – and to my mind unwise – entrance of Dr. Alex Ekwueme into the presidential race.  His entrance which will result either in  


(i)       Obasanjo contesting the presidency on the PDP platform and Ekwueme moving over to the ANPP (to join or substitute for APGA’s Ojukwu as another prominent candidate in the “Igbo Presidency Project”) in the presidential race, or else  


(ii)      Ekwueme contesting on the PDP platform and Obasanjo doing so (implausibly as it may sound) on the AD platform (or failing that, some dark-horse South-Western candidate arising under the ANPP or AD platform, to corral protest Yoruba votes.) 


One need only look at the announced presidential nomination dates (January 5 for PDP; January 6/7 for UNPP; January 7 for ANPP; January 10 for APGA, January 14 for PAC, and “anytime between January 11 and 30” for AD, etc.) to see that if these dates are not changed, a lot of presidential-candidate horse-trading can still occur.


All of these permutations and combinations have unnecessarily raised the political ante for everyone at a time when a smooth civilian-civilian is most desirable.


Let us pray.


I hope that you all had a Merry Xmas and will have a Happy New Year.





SATURDAY ESSAY: On the Question of National Ids

Mobolaji E. Aluko, September 30, 2000

SUNDAY MUSINGS: The Imperatives of Constitutional and Electoral Reforms
in Nigeria

Mobolaji E. Aluko, May 6, 2001

MONDAY QUARTERBACKING: Staggering Our Electoral Process

Mobolaji E. Aluko, June 18, 2001

Sunday Musings: The National Assembly, the President and the Electoral Law

Mobolaji E. Aluko, December 9, 2001

FRIDAY ESSAY: Electoral Act Maneuvers Most Unconstitutional

Mobolaji E. Aluko, December 14, 2001

On Electoral Law 2001, Election Re-Ordering and LG Tenure

Mobolaji E. Aluko, December  17, 2001

Mid-Week Essay: Before We Applaud Over Electoral Law Reversal…..

Mobolaji E. Aluko, January 3, 2002

MID-WEEK ESSAY:  Local Council Polls and INEC - A Funny Game Is Going On Here! 

Mobolaji E. Aluko, April 11, 2002

An Update to Essay on Local Council Polls and INEC

Mobolaji E. Aluko,  April 18, 2002

A Stubborn INEC, Looking for Trouble

Mobolaji E. Aluko, May 4, 2002

SUNDAY MUSINGS: New Maneuvers over the August 10 Local Government Elections

Mobolaji E. Aluko, May 12, 2002

INEC Fails a Simple Electoral Democracy Test

Mobolaji E. Aluko, September 22, 2002

INEC Ends Screening of 25 Associations

This Day (Lagos), November 29, 2002

INEC registers 22 new parties [Six other associations fail to meet set requirements]

Daily Times, Dec. 4, 2002

Inec Registers Gani's NCP, 21 Other Parties

Vanguard (Lagos), December 4, 2002

Gani, Yusufu, Musa, 19 Others Get Inec Nod

This Day (Lagos), December 4, 2002



Registered on December 3, 2002 were (1) The Chief Gani Fawehinmi-led National Conscience Party (NCP), (2) former Inspector General of Police Alhaji M. D. Yusufu's Movement for Democracy and Justice (MDJ) (3)  Balarabe Musa's Peoples Redemption Party (PRP); (4)  Green Party of Nigeria (GPN) led by lawyer and human rights activist, Mr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), (5) Justice Party (JP) led by Ralph Obioha, (6) Nigeria Advance Party (NAP) led by Dr. Tunji Braithwaite, (7)  Mahmud Attah's Nigerian Peoples Congress (NPC), (8)  Party for Social Democracy (PSD) led by former Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) chieftain, Comrade Sylvester Ejiofor; (9) Democratic Alternative (DA) led by civil rights activist, Chima Ubani. (10) All Peoples Liberation Party (APLP),  (11) Better Nigeria Progressive Party (BNPP), (12) Community Party of Nigeria (CPN), (13) Liberal Democratic Party of Nigeria (LDPN), (14) Masses Movement of Nigeria (MMN), (15) National Action Council (NAC), (16) National Mass Movement of Nigeria (NMMN); (17) National Reformation Party (NRP) (18) New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), (19) New Democrats (ND), (20) Peoples Mandate Party (PMP), (21) Peoples Salvation Party (PSP) and (22) Progressive Action Congress (PAC). 


Two additional parties, United Democratic Party (UDP) and African Renaissance Party (ARP), have since been registered – on December 17, 2002]

The total of 24 additional registrations followed the June 23, 2002 registration of  three parties: All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), National Democratic Party (NDP) and United Nigeria Peoples Party (UNPP), who had then joined three earlier parties: Alliance for Democracy (AD), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Nigeria’s Peoples Party (ANPP) that had been fully registered back on December 14, 1998]


Apparently not registered were Democratic Front for a Peoples Federation Party (DFPF); African Revolution Movement (ARM) and People's Emancipation Party (PEP).

Contact Names, Addresses and Telephone Numbers of the 28
Registered Nigerian Political Parties

Mobolaji Aluko, December 12, 2002

[Two additional parties, United Democratic Party (UDP) and African Renaissance Party (ARP), have since been registered]

Nigeria: a Country of 81 Political Parties

Weekly Trust (Kaduna), ANALYSIS  December 13, 2002

Inec Registers 2 New Parties, Issues Certificates to 24

This Day, December 18, 2002

INEC Releases Guidelines for 2003 Polls

Guardian December 21, 2002

Abiodun Adeniyi, John Abba Ogbodo

PREPARATIONS for the 2003 polls entered another stage yesterday with the announcement of dates for the general elections by the independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

In the time table announced by the INEC chairman, Dr. Abel Guobadia, the National Assembly election will come first on April 12, next year while the presidential and gubernatorial elections follow one week after, on April 19.

Provisions are made for run-off and it is scheduled for April 26, 2003. The electoral commission also made provision for possible second run, in case of a tie and April 29, 2003 is provided for that.

State Houses of Assembly election is billed to hold last on May 3.

Explaining the rationale for the arrangement, Guobadia said constitutional provisions were strictly considered. For the National Assembly and state houses of assembly elections, the chairman said the timing is regulated by provisions of section 76 and section 116 of the 1999 constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria respectively. The timing of elections into the executive offices of the president and governors is regulated by sections 132(I) and 132 (2), section 134; section 178(2) and 179 of the said constitution section 76(1) reads: "Elections to each House of the National Assembly shall be held on a date to be appointed by the Independent National Electoral commission." Subsection 2 adds: "The date mentioned in subsection (1) of this section shall not be earlier than sixty days before and not later than the date which the House stands dissolved."

He, therefore, posited that the National Assembly was inaugurated on June 3, 1999, therefore having regard to section 76 of the constitution, the National Assembly elections cannot be held earlier than April 3, 2003.

He further explained that the election can be held on any of the Saturdays starting from April 5, 2003 up to the last Saturday before June 3, 2003.

For the state houses of assembly which were inaugurated at different times between June 2, 1999 and June 14, 1999, he said that in line with the provisions of the electoral law 2002 which says noting shall take place on the same day and at the same time throughout the federation, the state houses of assembly election cannot take place earlier than April 14, 2003 or on the Saturday immediately following this date, April 19, 2003.

In the case of the presidential election, INEC said the incumbent was sworn into office on May 29, 1999 and therefore going by the provision of section 132, the election into the office of president should hold at any time between March 29, and April 29, 2003.

Guobadia further pointed out that since 30 political parties are fielding candidates for the election, the commission felt that it could handle more than two separate elections at the same time.

The likely combinations, according to the chairmen, are

a) i state elections comprising the house of assembly and governorship together.

ii the two arms of the National Assembly together

iii the presidential alone or

b) Houses of Assembly election, all being election of the same type.

ii the two arms of the National Assembly together

iii the governorship and the presidency together.

He highlighted the consequences of each option saying a (I) will mean that the elections cannot be held until Saturday, April 19, 2003. With the possibility of run-off in the governorship which must be concluded on or before April 29, the option is unacceptable.

He justified the decision of INEC, saying having regard to different dates at which the separate elections fall due, the similar conditions which regulate the conduct of the governorship and presidential elections, the commission adopted the option of starting with the National Assembly election and the other ones subsequently.





horizontal rule

© 1999 - 2006 Segun Toyin Dawodu. All rights reserved. All unauthorized copying or adaptation of any content of this site will be liable to  legal recourse.


Segun Toyin Dawodu, P. O. BOX 710080, HERNDON, VA  20171-0080, USA.

This page was last updated on 10/27/07.