The battle for ascendancy among the political opposition got messier, Thursday, after the brains behind the controversial African Peoples Congress, APC, emerged to unfold their logo, constitution and emblem.
The new group whose aspiration for registration with the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has thrown confusion into merger plans by the country’s leading opposition political parties said, yesterday, that it was not doing a hatchet job on behalf of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
The assertion, nonetheless, leaders of the fledgling All Progressive Congress, comprising Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN; Congress for Progressive Change, CPC; All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP and elements of All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, nevertheless vowed to pursue their merger.
At a press conference late, yesterday, the joint merger committee said its plans would not be derailed by the “mischief” of the African Peoples Congress and their sponsors.
‘We are on rescue mission’ Speaking at a ceremony where the brains behind the emerging party were formally unveiled, the Acting National Chairman of African Peoples Congress, Chief Onyinye Ikeagwuonu, lamented what he described as poverty of leadership in the country since 1999, saying that the APC was on a rescue mission.
He said: “The PDP, ACN, CPC, ANPP, etc have remorselessly squandered the goodwill of Nigerians. While infrastructure suffers in the states with the economy of the states wound round monthly allocations and diverted council funds.”
On name controversy On the controversy surrounding the name APC, the Legal Adviser, Mr. Kingsley Nnadi, said the acronym should not be the problem but it should be the name, adding that any other group making claim to the acronym, APC, had not made any official request to the INEC which he said his African Peoples Congress had made.
He debunked the allegation that the African Peoples Congress was hurriedly floated by the members of the peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to scuttle the registration of All Progressives Congress, stressing that if the PDP had performed well, there would have not been any need to float his APC.
‘Party has no link with PDP’ “My party has no link with PDP. In fact, our intention is to take over power from the ruling party. If PDP is ruling well, there would have been no need to come up. We are out because PDP has failed to touch the lives of Nigerian.
“We have just one APC (African Peoples Congress), the other one is not existing and INEC is aware of our party. The other APC only did merely negotiation, but we started our party over two years ago. With the documents submitted to the INEC, we have met the requirement of the Constitution and the Electoral Act.
“I believe that the unveiling of our party today, has finally put to rest the contention over APC, which one is authentic or not and we are waiting for INEC’s reply. We have our offices in over 26 states of the federation including our national headquarters and our support is massive.”
Challenges African Peoples Congress His assertion nonetheless, the merger committee of the All Progressive Congress, APC, debunked the action of the new African Peoples Congress.
Speaking through Chief Tom Ikimi, chairman of the joint merger committee of the opposition parties said they had been taking the pains of meeting the requirements of a merger since they made their intentions known on February 6.
He said: “We have taken the pains to furnish the foregoing facts because we will not accept any attempt by INEC (Independent National Electoral Commission), relying on a dubious application, clearly not in compliance with the conditions set out in the Constitution or the Electoral Act, to scuttle our plans to formalise our merger under our adopted name and acronym.
“We challenge the cowards behind the so-called African Peoples Congress to come forth and defend their position or forever hold their peace. On our part, the three political parties, part of APGA and others seeking to merge are steadily and resolutely taking all the steps necessary for the merger as provided under the Constitution and the Electoral Act. We have elected representatives in all tiers of government.
“We have written to INEC about this ugly development with the hope that INEC would not allow its credibility to be further undermined by political hirelings and their faceless sponsors who appear determined to truncate the democratic process. It is clearly a case of ‘the hands of Esau but the voice of Jacob’.”
It’s a rude shock Ikimi said it came to them as a rude shock that INEC would announce receipt of a letter from what he described as a faceless and unknown political group allegedly driven by ‘sheer mischief’ purporting to request for registration with the name of African Peoples Congress.
“The obvious motive of this letter is to attempt, albeit in futility, to scuttle the registration of the All Progressives Congress which has been so widely publicized and well received to the discomfort of the establishment,” the Tinubu APC alleged.