Respite for ACN, ANPP, APGA, CPC as INEC declines to register rival APC

The Nigerian electoral commission said the controversial APC will not be registered.

The plan by the African Peoples Congress to become a political party crashed on Monday as the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, said it would not register the association because it failed to meet the conditions for registration.

In a letter dated March 21 and sent to the political association, the commission said the group breached section 222 (a) of the 1999 Constitution as amended and thereby cannot be considered for any further registration as a political party.

The commission said that African Peoples Congress, which is one of the three associations laying claim to “APC” as its acronym, did not indicate the addresses of its national officers while filling Form PA 1, which the commission earlier forwarded to it.

Section 222 says, “No Association by whatever name called shall function as a political party unless: (a) The names and addresses of its national officers are registered with the Independent National Electoral Commission.”

INEC’s letter titled “Re: Application for Registration as a Political Party” reads: “Your application for registration as a political party dated 28thFebruary, 2013 refers. The Commission has observed that your Association is in breach of Section 222(a) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) which stipulates as follows:

“No Association by whatever name called shall function as a political party unless:

(a) The names and addresses of its national officers are registered with the Independent National Electoral Commission”

“A close observation of your submitted Form PA 1 established that it does not contain the addresses of your national officers as stipulated in the provision above.

“Consequently, the Commission shall not register the proposed African People’s Congress, (APC) as a political party.”

The INEC Director of Publicity, Emmanuel Umenger confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES that the commission wrote the association informing it of its decision.

He explained that the African Peoples Congress applied for registration on February 28, 2013 upon which the Commission forwarded to it documents, including Form A to fill.

He said that while returning the form, the association failed to fill the addresses of its national officers thereby breaching the provisions of the constitution.

“Yes, we wrote the association today March 21 and the letter is before me here and it was signed by the Commission’s Secretary. The association breached Section 222 of the constitution,” Mr. Umenger said.

Asked if INEC would reconsider the association’s application if it fulfills the said requirement, the Commission’s spokesman said “There is no second chance; the law is explicit and INEC follows what the law says.”

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With INEC’s decision, the race is now left for the other two associations claiming to own the APC acronym. They are All Progressives Congress and All Patriotic Citizens.

Group reacts

But in a swift reaction, the Protem National Chairman of the African Peoples Congress, Oninye Ikeagwuonu, accused the commission of conniving with some unnamed politicians to deny it registration.

Mr. Ikeagwuonu said at a press conference in Abuja on Monday that he is in possession of a letter dated 21st March purportedly written by INEC, in which the commission premised the plan not to register the association on irregularities in the addresses of its national officers.

It is the second time in two weeks that the association is accusing INEC officials of conniving with unnamed politicians to deny it registration.

Mr. Ikeagwuonu, however, vowed that the association would not give up its pursuit for registration, adding that it would seek judicial intervention if INEC fails to register it.

Also reacting, a member of the Merger Committee of the All Progressives Congress, Osita Okechukwu praised INEC for “serving the cause of justice and defending the constitution.”

Mr. Okechukwu described the rush by the African Peoples Congress to INEC for registration, using “APC” as its acronym “as a culture of impunity borne out of mischief which was meant to sustain the one-party state that the Peoples Democratic Party has nurtured over the years.”

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