by Dare Lawal
After all the hoopla generated by the quest of the African Peoples Congress ( APC ) to register as a political party in Nigeria, the Independent National Electoral Commission seems to have found a tactful way to defuse the situation.
The electoral body tuned down the registration request of the African Peoples Congress (APC) on the grounds that the paty breached a constitutional provision in its application process.
In a letter dated March 21 2013 and addressed to the chairman of the party, INEC said the party did not include the names and addresses of its national officers in its application form. That is a beach of section 222(a) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
The letter, which was written and signed by the secretary of INEC, Abdullahi Kaugama, and entitled “Re-Application for registration as a political party” was in response to the application of the political group dated February 28, 2013.
“The Commission has observed that your Association is in breach of Section 222 (a) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (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 I 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 Peoples Congress (APC) as a political party,” INEC said in its letter.
It’s unclear why the commission simply didn’t ask the problematic party to submit the missing details rather than turning down their request altogether.
With the development, the more popular All Progressive Congress which claims ownership of the ‘APC’ intellectual property is expected to formalise its own arrangements with the electoral commission quickly.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the African Peoples Congress , Chief Onyinye Ikeagwuonu, at a press conference in Abuja yesterday, said his group would contest the attempt by INEC to halt the group’s registration as a political party.
In a statement entitled “A brewing storm” Ikeagwonu said, “Our attention has just been drawn to a desperate effort by some paid INEC officials to conclusively consummate the black market transaction we warned about last Thursday, to deny the African Peoples Congress registration citing purported irregularities in the addresses of our national officers while the INEC documents required either residential address or phone number.”
He described INEC’s explanations for its actions as ‘flimsy.’