APC Registration Faces Fresh Hurdle As INEC Moves to Frustrate Merger
Reports reaching Abusidiqu.com indicates that the registration of the merger of three opposition political parties – Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) may have been enmeshed in fresh hurdles as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the presidency are set to frustrate to process by putting a halt to it.
The commission reportedly reached a decision to suspend the registration at a meeting which had the National Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, and other top officials in attendance. This is in spite of the fact that the merging political parties have met all the requirements stated in the Electoral Act 2011, as amended, for a merger to take effect.
The commission Abusidiqu.com learnt is hinging the decision to suspend the APC’s registration on the separate suits filed by the African Peoples Party and the All Progressive Congress of Nigeria at a Federal High Court, Abuja and may communicate this to the party on Tuesday asking it to change its name
It was learnt that the commission would be using the requirements for the registration of political associations as contained in Section 222 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended as the ground for this decision.
However, the spokesman of INEC, Mr Kayode Idowu, has denied the report of any plan to frustrate the merger, stating that there was no basis for the parties to exercise any fears as the Electoral Act was clear on merging processes.
He also noted that there is no court injunction compelling INEC to stop the merger.
“Since there is no court order enjoining the commission not to register the merger, it cannot on its own decide not to. Any position by the APC that INEC plans to stop its registration is baseless and false. Did the APC also inform you that we have been in constant touch with them in correspondence and visits to the offices they indicated as their address?”
On the effective date of APC application for merger, he asked: “Is it proper that we should take the date of application from the day the APC wrote INEC for recognition on merger or on the day they furnished the commission with the necessary documents? I am sure the proper date is the one they submitted the required documents. And with such date in mind, the 30 days stipulated by the Electoral Act has not expired.
“And even if it does, the law is also very clear that whether we write them or not, the law takes care of any ambiguity. I don’t see any reason for confusion in the matter so far until the expiration of 30 days provided for by the law.”
Reacting to the development, the CPC said suspending the APC registration would be a dangerous thing for INEC to do.
When contacted, the spokesman of the CPC, Mr. Rotimi Fashakin, warned INEC against suspending registration of the APC.
He stated, “It is too late in the day for INEC to attempt to do a thing like that. It will definitely put INEC in bad light. It is too expensive for this leadership of INEC to try to do.”
“It is a dangerous trend because it will make us to believe that this leadership of INEC is not capable of conducting free and fair elections come 2015.”
Fashakin said that the people behind rival APC were products of the ruling People’s Democratic Party.
He asked, “Does that mean that anything that will affect the PDP’s interest, INEC is not ready to do justice to it. We are going into elections. Does that mean INEC will short-change Nigerians again like it did in 2011?”
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