How to Register a Political Party in Nigeria
Every Nigerian has the right to join and register any political party of their choice. This is a fundamental right guaranteed by Section 40 of the 1999 constitution.
Under Nigerian law, any individual interested in running for a political office must be a registered member of a political party. Unlike some other countries where individuals can run as ‘independent candidates’, Nigerian candidates must be members of political parties.
So, if you have seen the list of political parties and you feel that you do not want to join any of them, because none of the parties align with your own aspirations and goals, you are free to form and register your own political party! The constitution gives you this right!
However, a group of people can’t just come together, go to the printers to print banners, t-shirts and other materials, and proclaim themselves as a new political party, the Constitution gives you the right to form one, but you must follow the guidelines as set out by the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC).
Here are the steps required to register a political party in Nigeria:
Stage 1 – Get Organised
- Firstly, you need a name, logo, and acronym of the proposed party (it must not be similar to any known registered political party, or have any religious, ethnic, or sectional connotation), therefore you can’t register a party like Christian Democrats or Muslim Republicans.
- Then you need to have a Chairman, a Secretary, National and State Executive Committee members – all officers must have been validly elected as you will need to provide INEC with the record of proceedings of the elections
- In addition, you need to have a draft Constitution, draft Code of Conduct and Manifesto. The Constitution should have provisions that deal with things like how elections are conducted, the administrative structure of the proposed party etc.
- Your draft Constitution must also reflect the Federal Character principle of the 1999 Constitution i.e. all leadership posts must reflect the Federal nature of Nigeria and should be representative of the various federating units of Nigeria.
- The Headquarters must be located in the Federal Capital Territory – Abuja, and the proposed party must be present in at least 24 states.
Stage 2 – Submission at INEC
- You must pay a non-refundable fee of N1,000,000 (One Million Naira)
- Obtain the appropriate form- FORM PAI
- Within 30 working days, the proposed party must submit 50 copies of the completed form and 50 copies of the draft constitution and manifesto of the proposed political party along with all other required information
- Submit the documents with the names, signatures and residential addresses of the Chairman and Secretary of the proposed political party
- If all the supporting documentation is not submitted within 30 working days, INEC will terminate the application for registration, and the proposed political party will have to pay a fresh administrative fee of N1,000,000 (One Million Naira)
Stage 3 – Post-Submission
- INEC will verify all the claims in the documents for conformity with the Guidelines
- If INEC is satisfied that all the requirements have been met, the party will be registered, and a Certificate of Registration will be issued.
- Consequently, where all the requirements have not been met, INEC will notify the political party of the reason for refusal
- Finally, the proposed political party may attempt to rectify any defect in the application within the 30-day period, without having to pay a fresh administrative fee of N1,000,000 (One Million Naira)
The above is just a brief summary of the process, if you do indeed one to set up a political party, you should not proceed solely on the basis of the information in this article. Setting up a political party is a massive endeavour and you will need to get proper experienced advice on the process and you will need to engage the services of professional consultants and lawyers.
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We hope you have found this information helpful. Please note that this information is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. No lawyer-client relationship is formed nor should any such relationship be implied. This answer is not intended to substitute for the advice of a qualified lawyer. If you require legal advice, please consult with a qualified lawyer.