The leadership of the African Peoples Congress meets next week.
In a surprising move, the Alliance for Democracy, AD, on Thursday, sought to join the suit the African Peoples Congress brought against the Independent National Election Commission, INEC, challenging the commission’s refusal to register it as a political party.
This is just as the Federal High Court, Abuja, has set aside July 5 for the adoption of addresses between INEC and the association.
A statement by the National Legal Adviser of the African Peoples Congress, Kingsley Nnadi, said AD applied to join the suit as second defendant when it had reached an advanced stage, alleging plot to derail the suit.
However, the National Secretary of AD, Rafiu Salau, denied that his party applied to join the suit, adding that it has nothing to do with the registration or otherwise of the new association.
“We’ve nothing to do with it, we don’t know about it,” Mr. Salau told PREMIUM TIMES in a telephone interview. “We don’t register parties and so we can’t join any such suits.”
The association had dragged INEC to court for refusing to register it over alleged breaches of some provisions of the Electoral Act in its application for registration.
Before its disqualification by INEC, the African Peoples Congress had been engaged in a war of acronym ownership with the All Progressives Congress, which, on its part, submitted application for registration to the commission last Friday.
In Thursday’s statement, Mr. Nnadi said, “This is to officially confirm that the Alliance for Democracy (AD) in a surprise display of political and legal rascality, has filed a suit at the Federal High Court Abuja, seeking to be joined as a second defendant alongside INEC in the action we brought before the court seeking to upturn INEC’s decision not to register our association (African People’s Congress).
“As a result of inquiries and need to keep the public aware of the stages of our struggle we decided to let the press know.”
Mr. Nnadi added that “our suit has reached advanced stage as all necessary pleadings, affidavit and counter affidavit have all been filled and exchanged between us and INEC and the court has fixed July 5th, 2013 for the adoption of our written addresses and possibly judgment in this crucial case which will shape the road map to the 2015 election.”
The legal adviser said the association has filed action to stop what he described as “the new antics of AD”, by asking the court to strike out the application by the opposition party to be joined in the suit since it (AD) is not one of the parties seeking to merge into All Progressives Congress, APC.
He further noted that “We are very surprise on what this new antics of this faction of AD working for ACN wants. AD as it stands today has over three factions coupled with the fact that it was not part of the merger group and has no right to seek to be part of a process that they have no legal relationship with.
“We have no doubt in our mind that this is another antics and dirty politics from Lagos as the faction of the AD which is filing this new action has last year decamped into ACN.
“Equally a close look at the suit will show the chambers of Olujimi, Banire and Akeredolu etc who are lawyers and members of the ACN. So we want to alert the public that something funny is being played out and all Nigerians must be vigilant,” the African Peoples Congress said.
Mr. Nnadi said that the leadership of the association has scheduled an emergency meeting for June 17, during which it would take decisions on some important issues, especially the submission of application by the All Progressive Congress to INEC for registration.
“We wish to use this medium to inform Nigerians that the leadership of the African Peoples Congress has convened its emergency BoT, NEC, NWC and Caucus meeting starting from Monday 17th 2013,” he stated.
“The meeting is being convened to take a decision on a lot of important issues especially the submission of merger application by our rival APC, the AD suit, some leadership changes in our APC, the fate of our court action at the Federal High Court etc. After the meetings of next week, we shall issue out our stand on all the treated issues.”