As Nigeria prepares to go to the next polls in 2023, the political atmosphere is getting more and tenser. All eyes would be fixed on these Elections because the young have seemingly fallen out with the old order and are clamouring for a new political party. Hence, the elections would be a litmus test to see if we are really tired and are ready to birth a new political order.
One of the first steps, however, would be to register a political party. As part of our responsibility to building a nation we all would be proud of, we at The Nigeria Journal would be sharing articles on how to become more politically inclusive and registering a political party would be one of the first steps on that journey.
According to a reputable legal website, Law Padi, here are the steps to follow when registering a political party:
According to the 1999 Nigerian constitution section 40, any citizen has the right to either join or register a political party of their choice. This is mainly essential for individuals who may want to enter politics and run for a parliamentary seat as the constitution states that, the person must be registered and be a member of a known political party. The rule is seen as a plus advantage for members who may want to form their political parties especially if they fall out with other parties, or wish to build a new party in the state.
Steps to Follow When Registering a Political Party in Nigeria
For you to be given the mandate to form a political party, there are some necessary steps that you must follow as stipulated by the Independent Electoral Commission of Nigeria also referred to as INEC.
1. Form A Name for Your Party
The first step to take is to create a name for your political party. The title should be accompanied by a logo and an acronym for your party. Note that all these details should be unique from the rest of the parties in the country. The party should not have any religious meaning whatsoever. Meaning, whether you are a Christian or a Muslim, the party you form should not have any of the listed religions meaning.
2. Choose Committee Members
Just like other parties, the political party should also have people to delegate. This includes a chairperson, a secretary, National, and State committee members. The selection of your party members should be made vividly since all the proceedings of their election will later be forwarded to INEC for verification before the party is approved.
3. Have the Required Constitutional Document
The documents that you must have are the draft of the country’s constitution and the selection of a code of conduct and manifesto. The law should consist of all the information regarding the process to follow on how to register for a political party in Nigeria, and how the party elections should be conducted.
The other details that should be present are the administrative structure of the proposed party. The constitution should have information regarding the federal character principle of the 1999 law. This means that the leadership posts should consist of the general nature of the Nigerian state, plus several representatives of federating units of the country.
4. The Location of the Party
The party’s headquarters should be located in the federal capital city territory which is Abuja, with the party being present in at least 24 states.
5. Submit The Documents at The INEC Headquarters
Some of the requirements that one must provide while submitting the party’s documents include:
• Payment of a total of one million naira (N1, 000,000) which is not refundable.
• The party should obtain the FORM FAI as required.
The party should also submit the following copies of documents within 30 days.
• 50 copies of the completed party’s form, 50 copies of the draft constitution and the manifesto of the registered party plus other required info.
• The documents should be submitted bearing the names and signatures of the chairman and secretary of the party including their residential addresses too.
Note that it is crucial to ensure that all the asked documents are submitted to INEC and on time since failure to do so, the INEC will automatically terminate the registration request, and the proposed party will be forced to pay another 1 million naira for fresh registration.
The processes that go on after the party submits their registration documents are:
The INEC has to verify the documents and see if the party followed all the guidelines on how to register a political party in Nigeria.
• Certificate of registration.
Ones the party is verified, and INEC finds it right, then they issue a certificate of registration to the party. But, in the case of registration requirements not met by the political party, the INEC ensure to issue a notification on why it was rejected. The political party may be given a chance to make the corrections on their registration documents within 30 days without paying an extra registration fee.
In Conclusion, please read more about the Nigerian government structure and see the relationship between the three arms of government in Nigeria. This will help you see how important political parties are to the general election contestants.