Independent National Electoral Commission said it did not register the African People’s Congress as a political party because it did not meet the conditions for registration.
INEC Director of Public Affairs, Mr. Emmanuel Umenger, told the News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday in Abuja that the commission’s letter to APC was unambiguous on the issue.
Umenger said it was left for the party to prove the commission wrong.
He said, “INEC as a law obeying body relates with stakeholders in the electoral process basically on what the law of the land says.
“Our relationship with the stakeholders is determined by the relevant sections of the law.”
Meanwhile, opposition political parties involved in merger talks have hailed INEC’s decision to deny registration to the African People’s Congress.
Members of opposition political parties, who spoke with our correspondents on Tuesday, said it was clear that promoters of the association had the objective of denying the All Progressive Congress the use of the APC acronym.
National Publicity Secretary of the Congress for Progressive Change, Mr. Rotimi Fashakin, said “The reason why they were denied registration according to INEC was based on provisions of Section 222 of the Constitution that has to do with the Constitution that ghosts cannot be granted registration.
“Ghosts cannot represent a political party. There must be real persons that have a place of residence, they must reside in this nation and be nationals that have verifiable address, that have real names and veritable address.”
Action Congress of Nigeria through its spokesman, Lai Mohammed, said Nigerians were aware that the reason behind the rushed formation of African People’s Congress was to frustrate the registration of the All Progressive Congress.
Mohammed said it was wrong to say that those behind the All Progressive Congress were merely making noise on the pages of newspapers concerning the registration of the party.
He said, “People are just mixing things up. The process of registering new parties is different from merger of existing political parties, which require the picking of a new name.
“Every Nigerian, including INEC was aware of our name and acronym. When the governors elected on the platform of the merging political parties went to Borno State, they were referred to as the APC governors.
“We are not expected to go to INEC and drop a name in lieu. That is not in the constitution. But for mischievous reasons, some unknown people just woke up one day and coined a name to rival our acronym just to frustrate us.”
Also, the 2011 governorship candidate for the Congress for Progressive Change in Enugu State, Mr. Osita Okechukwu, commended the commission for denying the association registration.
He said, “We salute INEC for serving the cause of justice and defending the constitution.
“We have always known that African Peoples Congress was born out of mischief to sustain one party state foisted at variance with the Constitution by the Peoples Democratic Party.”