The Nigerian electoral body said it acted by the law.
A request by the Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to allow his faction of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, convoke a national convention, has been turned down by the commission.
In a bid to secure recognition for the faction, which appointed Maxi Okwu as its acting national chairman last month, Mr. Obi wrote the electoral body notifying it of the plans to hold a national convention.
Mr. Okwu’s appointment followed the revocation of the tenure of APGA National Chairman, Victor Umeh, and members of the National Working Committee by an Enugu High Court, which said that their emergence as national officers breached sections of the party’s constitution.
But INEC said Mr Obi had no right to make the request. The Commission’s Director of Public Affairs, Emmanuel Umenger, told journalists on Thursday in Abuja that only the national chairman had the powers under the law to convene a national convention.
He said the electoral body took the decision after studying the constitution of the crisis-ridden party, insisting that the governor had no powers to write the commission on behalf of the party, requesting to hold a convention.
According to Mr Umenger, the commission, in a letter dated March 1, 2013 and signed by its Acting Secretary, Mustapha Kuta, conveyed its decision to Mr Obi.
He quoted part of the letter as saying “There is nowhere the APGA Constitution gave you; Governor Peter Obi the powers and authority to convene a national convention of the party. INEC cannot accede to your request to convene a national convention of APGA”.
The Public Affairs Director said INEC responded to the request by the governor because of the court decision on the tenure of Mr. Umeh and members of his executive.
On the implication of writing the letter, Mr. Umenger explained that the commission “does not control the running of parties, but the implementation of the parties constitution and their finances.”