by Stanley Azuakola
When on Monday April 29, the Nigerian Tribune splashed a report on its front page claiming that that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had denied registration to the All Progressives Congress (APC), most people muttered a collective, ‘here we go again.’
This issue has dragged on for so long and is gradually becoming a bore to most neutral observers.
But when the APC sent a letter to INEC informing them of the plans by the various parties involved to hold national conventions in which they would vote to adopt the new party, INEC did not object. In fact, the commission sent observers to the April convention of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), and they allegedly raised no issues.
However the Nigerian Tribune had said in its Monday report that:
“The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has written to the All Progressives Congress, disclosing that its acronym, in its application seeking registration as a political party, clashes with that of the African People’s Congress.
“In a letter dated April 23, 2013 and signed by its secretary, Abdulahi Kaugama, the commission informed leaders of the All Progressives Congress of another party, the African People’s Congress, advising that a change of name may be an option.”
Both the ACN national publicity secretary, Lai Mohammed, and his CPC counterpart, Rotimi Fashakin, in separate reactions disclosed that they were not aware of any such letter and had not received it, even though the Nigerian Tribune report alleged that it had been dispatched six days ago.
Now, INEC has also come out to dispel the report, describing the Nigerian Tribune report as “utterly false.”
In a Facebook post signed by its Chief Press Secretary, Kayode Idowu, INEC said that,
“The Commission has not written to stop the merger bid as APC,
“The Commission, in a letter by its Secretary dated April 23rd, 2013, only declined an application by another association seeking to register as the All Progressives Congress of Nigeria (APCN), for the reason that the acronym proposed by the association is similar to that of another already seeking registration.”
It is possible that it is this letter which came to the attention of the Nigerian Tribune newspapers and which they hastily published, missing the fact that the APC is different from the APCN. Or it could be for some other reason, who knows?
But at least with the INEC confirmation, the merging parties in the APC union can breathe easy at least for the time being. If their short history is anything to go by, more turbulence lies ahead.