24th March, 2013
The Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Professor Attahiru Jega, on Saturday, accused the promoters of the grand opposition coalition, All Progressives Congress, APC, of merely “making noise”, while ignoring a fundamental procedure required for registering as a political party.
Jega spoke during a popular Hausa phone-in programme, Hanu Dayawa, in Kaduna.
He revealed that it was not until the other group applied to the INEC for registration guidelines that the arrowheads of the opposition parties notified it (INEC), “five or six days ago”, of their intention to merge.
“The truth is that no political party has written to notify us that it is planning to merge with some other political parties until the past five days or so. The issue became serious when one group came out to seek registration. I guess that was what made them (All Progressive Congress) to write and notify us”, he stated.
He pointed out that “in spite of all the noise going on, none of these political parties who want to merge has held their convention. We only read in the newspapers that they have the intention of merging and nobody wrote (to) us”.
The Political Science don, noted that” all these (sic) noise is just our politics in Nigeria” and, revealed the INEC had advised the merging party to “look for another name” to avoid confusion.
“Somebody first came with the name and we have explained that we are already screening the person who first came with the name. We have told them to look for another name”, he averred.
He said the name change had become necessary if the opposition APC would want to be registered, “because it is not possible
to register three groups with the same name”.
However, it is the Commission’s word against the merger APC’s, as his leaders have vowed to retain the name and controversial acronym, which they claimed was their “intellectual property”.
Speaking to PM News, a chieftain of the opposition merger, Senator Anthony Adefuye, faulted the INEC Chairman’s claim.
“The process of registering a political party is different from a merger. In registering a political party, you can notify INEC in advance, but not in a merger because you don’t even know what would come out of the merger”, he explained.
Adefuye’s comment was in sync with an earlier statement made by the Chairman of the APC merger committee, Chief Tom Ikimi.
According to Ikimi, penultimate week in Abuja, ‘’all legal and constitutional processes required to formalize the merger and register our new party with INEC in the name of the All Progressives Congress are already in progress, in top gear”, he had said.
Ikimi noted that a public announcement “of the decision of the three parties to merge,” on 6 February, “made the name All Progressives Congress and the acronym, APC, our intellectual property which we shall guard jealously”.