Opposition political parties that merged, seeking to be registered as All Progressives Congress, APC, have vowed not to drop the name of the new party and have consulted a law firm to write the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, on the controversy.
A highly-placed member of APC, who spoke to Vanguard on the condition of anonymity, said the chairmen of the four political parties met yesterday at the residence of Chief Tom Ikimi in Abuja to deliberate on the new twist from INEC that a political association, African Peoples Congress, had contacted the commission for registration.
The APC source alleged that information available to the opposition political parties revealed that “some people went to INEC office on Tuesday at 4pm to submit documents for the African Peoples Congress,” but that the Director of Public Affairs with the commission, Emmanuel Unenger, described the allegation as untrue.
The source disclosed that a senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, James Osholi, of James Osholi and Associates, has been contacted to write to INEC on the choice of the name All Progressives Congress.
The meeting was attended by Chief Tom Ikimi, chairman of the Committee of the merging parties from the ACN; Mallam Ibrahim Shekaru for ANPP; Senator Annie Okonkwo, representing APGA, and Alhaji Hadi Garba for CPC.
The source revealed that the Tuesday meeting of representatives of the four merger parties and the Democratic Peoples Party, DPP, after going through the relevant sections of the Electoral Law and the 1999 Constitution as amended, decided to stick to All Progressives Congress, APC.
The source said: “We met yesterday (Tuesday) and resolved that we are going to maintain that name APC despite what INEC in collusion with PDP is doing.
“That letter purportedly written by a law firm on behalf of African Peoples Congress is not what the law said. Section 78, Sub-section 1 to 6 laid down the procedure which a political association applying to INEC for registration of a political party must comply with.
“Section 222 of the 1999 Constitution also laid down the requirements a political association applying to INEC for the registration of a political party must comply with.
“That letter written by one law firm on behalf of African Peoples Congress is not what is required. So it is surprising and curious that INEC wants to use that to say that some other political association has applied to use that name because they have met the requirement. “If you apply and you have made the requirements, INEC will issue you a letter of acknowledgment of your documentation.
“Your documentation must carry the names of the national officers of the association, the headquarters of the association in the FCT, the symbol, manifesto and payment of the administrative fee for the processing of the documentation.
“INEC has not shown that those people have paid the administrative fee. So where did they get evidence that they have paid the administrative fee for the processing of their documentation. “They have not also shown a letter of acknowledgment that they received any document from the political association because when they issue that letter, INEC must reply it within 30 days.”