What can I do if I want to stand in an election or form a political party? 


What can I do if I want to stand in an election?

  • You must be a citizen of Nigeria as recognized by the Constitution for most posts. However, to run for President and for Governor of a state, only a citizen of Nigeria by birth can contest.
  • You must have met the age requirements as provided by law at the time of contesting for elective office. 35 years for the office of President, Governor or, senator; 25 years for House of Representative and for members of House of Assembly of each state in Nigeria.
  • For the Local Council elections, check your State Electoral Laws or local INEC for age and other requirements. 
  • You must be a member of any political party of your choice registered by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
  • You must participate in the primary elections conducted by the political party you belong to.
  • The political party must sponsor you and thereafter submit your names as her only candidate for a particular office to the Independent National Electoral Commission at least 60 days before Election Day.
  • Once your political party has nominated you through the proper process and met all deadlines, you cannot be disqualified or substituted by The Independent National Electoral Commission.

If INEC disqualifies me, what can I do to challenge a disqualification?

  • Get a lawyer to file a suit on your behalf in the Federal High court within 14 days of the disqualification. 
  • Argue that you meet the requirements above and that the disqualification is not justified. 
  • Present witness evidence or documentary evidence to support your case. 

How do I form a political party?

There are certain requirements that a political association must fulfill before it is registered as a political party by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in a way that can canvass votes for candidates and sponsor candidates at elections.  Only the INEC that has the power to register political parties.


  • The names and addresses of the party’s national officers must be registered with the Independent National Electoral Commission.
  • Assure that the membership of the association is not discriminatory. i.e., the membership must be open to every citizen of Nigeria irrespective of his place of origin, circumstance of birth, sex, religion, or ethnic grouping.
  • Assure that the association has its constitution registered with INEC.
  • Assure that the name of the association, its symbol or logo does not contain any ethnic or religious connotation or give the appearance that the activities of the association are confined to a part only of the geographical area of Nigeria.
  • The association has its headquarters located in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

Proceed to registration of the political party at least 6 months prior to the general election and obtain a Certificate of Registration issued by INEC. 

In a situation where the application for registration fails, INEC is required to send a notification on the failure of the Registration to you. You have 30 days after this notification to fulfill all necessary requirements.


What can I do where an application for registration of a political party is denied by the commission?

It is clear that every citizen of Nigeria has the constitutional right to form a political party. You can:

  • Approach the Federal High Court  through your lawyer to challenge the denial of registration by INEC. 
  • Argue that you meet the requirements above for registration.  
  • Present witness evidence or documentary evidence to support your case.
  • You have 30 days  to challenge INEC’s decision to deny registration.

What can I do If I am denied membership to a political party?

It should be noted that no political party can be registered successfully by the Commission if its membership is not free to all adult citizens of Nigeria. However, when this happens, you can:

  • Inform the Commission about the situation by writing a letter of notification.
  • In the letter, you would have to include the following: (name, age, address, name of the party, state of origin, etc.)

Note: If the Commission takes a decision that you are not pleased with, you have the right to approach a competent court of law and start a Fundamental Human Rights Procedure claim. See “Enforcing the right to political participation” for more information. 

 It is advisable that you keep the letter of rejection given to you safely or any other relevant evidence that will be useful in making your claim in court.


How do I resolve disputes between political parties or within a political party?

Political parties in Nigeria usually have a dispute resolution panel required to look into complaints brought by members of the party. This panel usually resolves disputes between the disputing parties without the need of approaching a law court. 

The claims this panel entertains may include: The Inability to participate in an election either as a voter or candidate aspiring for a public office in party’s primary elections; increase of nomination form fees and withdrawal of names from candidates list.

Note: The complaint will be directed to the Secretary, Dispute Resolution Panel (DRP).

Here are certain things needed to be included in the complaint.

  1. Name of the complainant. Note: “Complainant” is a person who brings a claim.
  2. Date of the incident.
  3. Story of what happened.
  4. Details of those involved.
  5. Relevant evidence that will support your claim.
  6. Things you desire the Panel to do.
  7. Your signature.

Electoral Alternative Dispute Resolution (EADR):

This also serves as an alternative to litigation whereby a Directorate in INEC will look into the complaint and settle the misunderstanding.

This is usually done mostly after the declaration of the winner in an Election matter. It should be noted that approaching this Panel depends on the choice of both parties. You will be required to do the followings:

  1. Identifying the wrongs in the concluded election.
  2. What you want the Panel to do to you.
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