As Tribunal commence sitting, Labour Party will lose a lot of Lawmakers to other political parties because of Section 77 of the Electoral Act.
As the National And State Houses of Assembly election petition Tribunal commence hearing of petitions arising from the conduct of the 2022 National and State Houses of Assembly elections, the Labour Party will lose most of the Lawmakers elected on its platform to other parties because of the provision of Section 77 of the electoral act 2022 as amended.
In view of the fact that those who won elections on the platform of the Labour Party were former members of different political parties who left their party to join the Labour Party for failing to clinch the tickets of those parties, most of them did not get their names into the Labour Party register.
Section 77 subsection (2) and (3) of the 2022 electoral act as amended clearly states that ”
“Every registered political party shall maintain a register of it’s members in both hard and soft copy”
“Each Political party shall make such register available to the commission not later than 30 days before the date fixed for the party primaries,congresses or convention”
These provisions in the electoral act is also inline with the provisions of section 227 of the 1999 constitution as amended.
Most of the Labour Party members who joined the party in the week of the Primaries were not qualified by law to contest that election by virtue of section 77 of the electoral.
INEC Chairman in of the regular meetings of the commission, clearly warned political parties over ignoring the provisions of section 77 of the electoral act.
The INEC Boss Prof Mahmood Yakubu said the new Electoral Act made it mandatory for political parties to submit their registered members to the commission 30 days before their primaries.
“Let me also seize this opportunity to remind political parties that by the provision of Section 77 of the Electoral Act 2022; each party is required to maintain a membership register in hard and soft copy and to make such register available to the Commission not later than 30 days before the date fixed for primaries, congresses and conventions.
“Doing otherwise is like going into an election without the register of voters. There can be no credible primary or general election without a credible register of voters,” he stated then.
The interesting thing about this scenario is that the Legislative election petition tribunal don’t get to the Supreme court, it ends at the Court of Appeal.
Promise Uzoma Okoro, Umuahia, Abia State