The Nigeria Election Working Group (NEWG) has called for stiffer criteria for political parties to appear on ballot papers for the 2019 general elections as part of measures to avoid confusion.
There are currently 68 registered political parties and many are coming up, heightening fears that INEC would find it tough accommodating them all on ballot papers.
The Convener of NEWG, Prof. Adele L. Jinadu, made the call yesterday in Abuja while briefing newsmen at the end of the group's third technical meeting on 'The Implication of the Increasing Number of Registered Political Parties in Nigeria for the 2019 General Elections'.
He said the conditions for political party registration were too liberal, a development that paved way for excessive proliferation of parties in the country which, he added, posed serious challenges to INEC.
"The number of registered political parties in Nigeria is becoming excessive and INEC has no legal basis to constrain the process because successive Supreme Court judgments have compelled INEC to register almost all applicants.
"INEC should begin engagements with various stakeholders, especially citizens, civil societies, political parties and the National Assembly to ensure that only parties and candidates with demonstrable support can get onto the ballot.
"INEC should propose an amendment to the constitution and the Electoral Act to ensure that only parties with reasonable support of the electorate have access to the ballot paper," Jinadu said.
While urging electoral officers and the electorate not to be deterred from participating in the Ekiti governorship election over fear of militarization, he advised government and security agencies to create an enabling environment for INEC to carry out its constitutional responsibility of conducting elections and voters to exercise their franchise.