Attahiru Jega, the INEC chairman, says laws guiding party registration are clear.
The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Attahiru Jega said on Tuesday that neither he nor the commission is under pressure to stop the registration of the All Progressives Congress, APC, a merger of some opposition political parties.
The parties in the merger deal are the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN; Congress for Progressives Change, CPC; All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP; Democratic Peoples Party, DPP; and a section of All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA.
The merger filed its application for registration last Friday.
“Neither the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) nor its Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, is under pressure from any quarters in the discharge of their constitutional duties – including registration of political parties,” a statement by Mr. Jega’s media aide, Kayode Idowu, said.
While refuting a media report alleging that Mr. Jega is under pressure from “high quarters” to deny APC registration, the statement said the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and the Electoral Act (as amended) clearly spell the requirements parties merging must meet before they are registered.
“Both the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic (As Amended) and the Electoral Act 2010 (As Amended) prescribe specific conditions that any group seeking registration as a new political party or intending to evolve from a merger process must fulfill. INEC is a regulatory body whose duty is to make sure that applications for registration meet those conditions as applicable,” it said.
The statement also explained that “applications to INEC for registration as political parties are a purely routine operational matter, and they are treated as such in the light of guiding statutory provisions.
“The present leadership of the Commission will uncompromisingly protect its integrity and the statutory rules of engagement.
“It will not be pressured by anyone to register, deregister or not register any party; and neither will it be stampeded or blackmailed into ignoring statutory provisions in regard of any application. The Commission, it must be restated, will do only what is right and lawful at all times.”