The Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN says the All Progressives Congress, APC has met all the requirements to consummate its merger, hence the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC has no defensible reason not to approve the merger.
In a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the party said in spite of recent media reports concerning the antics of some negative forces within INEC over APC’s registration, the emerging party’s leadership has no doubt that in the end, the electoral body will do what is right in accordance with the law.
It therefore dismissed as a mere speculation a report that INEC was planning to write a letter to the proponents of APC to find another name because of a court case instituted by a political association over the APC acronym.
”We are convinced that INEC has no discernible reason to write such a letter to us. In the first instance, there exists no court injunction anywhere restraining the commission from registering APC. There could be many court cases, but until there is a court order, no one can preempt what a court will do and act on that basis,” the party said.
”Again, we have met all the stipulated requirements. INEC has also inspected our proposed headquarters in Abuja and sighted all our interim officers. The merger process may be novel, but we have played according to the rules and we expect nothing less from INEC.”
The party expressed satisfaction with the statement credited to the spokesperson of the INEC Chairman, Kayode Idowu, that there is no court injunction compelling the Commission to stop the merger.
”We believe we are on the same page with INEC as far as this trail-brazing merger is concerned, and that has been confirmed by the INEC spokesman, and we therefore call on the Commission to do the proper thing right now – which is the registration of APC.
”There is no doubt that INEC is under tremendous pressure, from both the card-carrying PDP members of the Commission and their collaborators who are mortally afraid of the merger, and who will want the electoral body to commence, right now, the process of rigging the 2015 election in their favour.
”But we urge INEC not to compromise its neutrality and integrity by acting contrary to the law. We remind the Commission that Nigerians are keenly watching how it will handle this merger issue, and whatever it does will determine whether or not Nigerians can count on it to organize a free, fair and credible elections in 2015, the statement said.
It also said ”Given the already over-heated polity ahead of the 2015 elections, we believe INEC will not do anything that will aggravate the situation,” it said.
Speaking in the same vein, the spokesperson of the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties, CNPP, who is also a member of the CPC, Osita Okechukwu said both the Constitution and the Electoral Act encourages only credible bodie to be registered as political parties.
He also accused those fighting for the APC acronym alongside the merging parties as ‘mischief makers’.
“The intendment of the Constitution and the Elect Act is to register only credible groups as political parties and to stop phony groups or mischief makers parading themselves as political parties,” Mr. Okeke told PREMIUM TIMES.
“To prove their malcontent, none of them approached INEC for registration with the acronym before 6th February 2013 when APC was proclaimed. It is trite law that you cannot build something out of nothing; therefore INEC has no legal plank to deny APC registration as there is no court order stopping it from Registering APC,” he said.
Supporters should remain calm
Meanwhile, the ACN has appealed to all the supporters of what it called ‘the emerging APC’ across the country to remain calm over the registration issue.
”We know that many of our teeming supporters are upset by the report of the shenanigans in INEC over this issue. But it is important for them to remain law-abiding as we await the decision of INEC. We are confident, going by the words of INEC itself, that the court case instituted by those laying claim to the APC acronym has no bearing on what is going on,” the party assured.