LOCKED offices. Empty buildings. Absentee workers. Zero workforces. Uncertain addresses. Those are the findings from an investigation conducted by The ICIR on political parties registered by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The ‘big two’ – the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the ruling All Progressives Party (APC) are not included among the political parties featured in this investigation.
Currently, Nigeria has a total of 18 political parties registered by the INEC.
The number dropped to 18 after the commission deregistered 74 political parties in February 2020.
Most of the deregistered parties had dragged INEC to court in a bid to overturn their deregistration.
The 18 political parties registered by INEC are: Accord Party, Action Alliance, Action Democratic Party, Action Peoples Party, African Action Congress, African Democratic Congress, All Progressives Congress, All Progressives Grand Alliance, Allied Peoples Movement, Labour Party, National Rescue Movement, New Nigeria Peoples Party, People’s Democratic Party, Peoples Redemption Party, Social Democratic Party, Young Progressive Party, Zenith Labour Party and Boot Party.
The ICIR reporter visited the head offices of the registered political parties. The addresses of head offices are listed on their respective profiles of the parties on INEC’s website.
The visits, undertaken during working hours, was to get a first-hand account at head offices of the various political parties in Abuja.
The ICIR investigation focuses on party operations, visibility, office buildings and infrastructure, staff strength, party membership and preparations for the 2023 general elections.
Findings from the investigation, which spanned two months between August and October, reveal that most parties have no structure and presence at the Federal Capital Territory as required by INEC.
Visits to the head offices revealed a lack of institutional and organisational capacity among the political parties. And there was little or no sign of any official activities.
When The ICIR visited the head office of Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) at Suite 206, Dabo Shopping Mall, Plot 73 Ladoke Akintola Way, Garki, Abuja, on August 25, only two receptionists were around.
There was no sign of any official or operational activities at the office located on the top floor.
The Nigerian flag and the party flag that are usually part of the paraphernalia of political party offices were not on display.
The ICIR correspondent had to ask several occupants of the shopping plaza before locating the political party’s office.
The receptionist on duty told The ICIR that no party official or other key staff of the political party was around to speak to a journalist.
Though The ICIR correspondent dropped a call card in the expectation that a party official would call, nobody has done so as of the time of this publication.
At the head office of Labour Party (LP) on 29 Oke Agbe Close, Off Ladoke Akintola Boulevard, Garki II Abuja, also on August 25, only a security man at the gate of the building was around when The ICIR visited at 1:47 pm.
The security man explained that no staff of the party was around at the time.
However, he added that a ‘barrister’ who could attend to enquiries was expected to arrive “any moment.”
The ICIR, however, observed that the LP’s head office had a signboard bearing the party’s name and logo. Flags were also mounted in front of the head office building.
The head office of the Accord Party is Area 3, in Garki, Abuja.
A faded and torn party flag hung outside the building on which the political party’s name was boldly displayed.
The ICIR visited the head office on September 1, at about 11:30 am. According to the office attendant, no official activity was happening in the office, who identified himself as Emmanuel.
Apart from the office attendant, The ICIR’s correspondent did not see any other staff at the office.
Emmanuel explained that a party official who was inside the office at that moment would not be able to respond because he was having his breakfast.
The reporter also left a call card, but nobody from the political party contacted The ICIR.
The head office of Young Progressives Party (YPP) – Block 10, Flat No. 1 Benue Crescent, Area 1, Garki, Abuja – was under lock when The ICIR visited on September 1.
There was no sign of any workers or party members. The ICIR observed that flagpoles, which were used to mount flags at the office, were bare. It seemed the flags had been removed from the poles.
At the head office of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) – No. 8 Ogbabi Street, Adjacent Military Police Headquarters, Garki 11, Abuja – on September 1, The ICIR’s correspondent was only able to meet an office attendant.