The agenda of the new political association is still precarious.
Two weeks after it applied for registration as a party, the All Patriotic Citizens, one of the three political associations laying claim to “APC” as their acronym, is yet to commence full political activities like its rivals.
PREMIUM TIMES was on the trail of the association for two days and discovered that its sponsors may after all not be serious with the formation of a party amidst suspicions that it was floated to play the role of a spoiler.
All Patriotic Citizens has been engaged in the battle with All Progressives Congress and African Patriotic Citizens, over the use of the acronym.
All Progressives Congress is the product of the merger talks of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN; Congress for Progressive Change, CPC; All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP; and a faction of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA. The name of the association and the acronym were unveiled at a news conference in Abuja on February 6, 2013.
Barely two weeks after, the African Peoples Congress emerged on the political scene; also claiming to have applied to INEC for registration, using APC as its acronym.
The commission confirmed the receipt of its application. The group has since unveiled its logo and opened its national secretariat in Abuja as required by law. It also announced its protem officials.
A card-carrying member of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Ikenga Ugochinyere, has been linked with the formation of the association thereby further fueling suspicions that the ruling party may be behind its formation to frustrate the fusion of the opposition parties.
Unlike its rivals, All Progressives Congress and African Peoples Congress, both of which are upbeat in their activities, the All Patriotic Citizens, which surfaced over a week ago, has remained in the cold, despite applying to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, for registration.
The All Patriotic Citizens gave the address of its national secretariat while applying for registration as Plot 1385 Gurara Street, off Ibrahim Babangida Way, Maitama District of Abuja. When PREMIUM TIMES visited the address on Tuesday and Thursday, there was nothing to suggest that it is the national secretariat of a proposed political party. There was no party flag, signpost, logo or anything to relate the building to a political association seeking to be registered as a party.
No official or member of the association could be found on the two days. The gate to the one-storey building, painted with white colour, was firmly locked with a giant padlock. Apparently, not even the security man has access to a compound he is employed to watch over.
When our reporter arrived at the office on Tuesday and introduced himself, the security man, who appears to be in his early 20s, said that no member of the association comes there regularly, though a man, who he simply called Oga Chidi, came in briefly that day.
Although, the guard declined to provide the telephone number of ‘Oga Chidi’, he, after much pressure, put a call across to him. Mr. Chidi subsequently asked to speak with this reporter. The conversation went thus:
PREMIUM TIMES: I am a journalist with PREMIUM TIMES. I just want to find out how far you have gone with your application for registration as a party and the preparations you are making towards the 2015 elections. But nobody is in your office to attend to me.
Oga Chidi: It’s too early now. Drop your telephone number and the name of your paper so that when I come back, I can call you. (The phone went off suddenly).
When this reporter went back to the office on Thursday afternoon, the situation was not different. The gate to the compound was still locked. The same security man who sits on a small chair outside the compound all day could not recognize this reporter until he was reminded of the Tuesday encounter.
Asked if Oga Chidi or any of the officials had been to the office since that day, the security guard said no. As if to lend credence to this belief, the association has not issued any press statement since its emergence on the political scene.
Attempts by PREMIUM TIMES to seek for further information on the All Patriotic Citizens from INEC officials were equally unsuccessful.
Kayode Idowu, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, said he would not make further comments on the lingering controversy over the “APC” acronym.