INEC Lied About African People’s Congress Application – ACN
An official of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of telling bald lies and engaging in fabrication by claiming that a political party called African People’s Congress had applied to the commission for registration.
In a statement issued in Abuja today, Lai Mohammed, the ACN’s national publicity secretary, said INEC’s claim, which was made by the commission’s spokesman, Kayode Idowu, was not supported by the sections of the Electoral Act that regulate the registration of political parties.
Mr. Mohammed insisted that no party today with the acronym of APC had applied to INEC to be registered. He added that the African People’s Congress was a phantom organized sponsored by the Peoples Democratic Party in order to hijack an acronym adopted by a coalition of political parties that recently declared their merger in order to unseat the PDP in the 2015 general elections.
The ACN’s statement asserted that the so-called African People’s Congress had merely written a letter of intent, adding that INEC had not even discussed the letter much less taking any decision on it.
Mr. Mohammed claimed: “The statement credited to Mr. Idowu is therefore reckless and provocative and clearly betrays INEC as truly having merged with the PDP to frustrate the merger of the progressives under the banner of the All Progressives’ Congress (APC). One wonders who the spokesman is speaking for and what interest he represents. He should therefore be called to order before he sets the country ablaze.”
In order to debunk INEC’s claim that the phantom African People’s Congress had applied for registration, the ACN invoked the sections of the Electoral Act that are relevant to party registration. Part V Political Parties of the Electoral Act, Section 78 (1) stipulates as follows: “A political association that complies with the provision of the Constitution and this Act for the purposes of registration shall be registered as a political party, provided that such application shall be duly submitted to the Commission not later than 6 months before a general election.” Section 78 (2) states, “The Commission shall on receipt of the documents in fulfillment of the conditions stipulated by the Constitution immediately issue the applicant with a letter of
acknowledgement stating that all necessary documents have been submitted to the Commission.”
According to the ACN, “In this case the applicants on behalf of the phantom African People’s Congress, the clients of Legal World Chambers, have not submitted any of the documents stipulated by the Constitution to the Commission. They have only written a letter of intent and therefore INEC could not have issued them any letter of acknowledgment, not to talk of starting the process of verifying the documents.” Mr. Mohammed added: “At this point they cannot even be regarded as applicants. Why then did INEC through its spokesperson gleefully go to the media to proclaim that another political association has applied to be registered as African People’s Congress using the same acronym APC? Clearly INEC is on a mission of mischief and its paymaster is PDP [which] has been having sleepless nights since the merger arrangement was announced.”
Mr. Mohammed also called attention to Section 78 (6) of the Electoral Act, which says: “An application for registration as a political party shall not be processed unless there is evidence of payment of administrative fee as may be fixed from time to time by the Commission.”
The ACN said it was aware that the applicants in question had not even paid any administrative fees and therefore INEC could not have commenced processing their application, because there is no application before INEC as they have only written a letter of intent.” Mr. Mohammed described the INEC spokesman who announced that another political association had applied to be registered as APC as a stooge of the PDP.
He said the INEC spokesman was “definitely being paid by the PDP to mislead Nigerians, subvert extant regulations and scuttle the proposed merger of the ACN, ANPP, APGA and CPC. He should immediately be called to order before he sets the country ablaze.”
The ACN declared that the whole controversy pointed to INEC’s collusion with the PDP to stampede the merging parties to commit errors and also intimidate them to drop the acronym APC. The party added, “This has failed because as of today in accordance with the provisions of S. 78 (2) and S. 78 (6) of the Electoral Act as explained above, there is no applicant on record for the acronym APC,
contrary to the deceit being spread by the INEC spokesman.”
The ACN also alerted Nigerians to the fact that INEC has had a definite knowledge of the merger plan and the existence of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for a long time, going by statements credited to the INEC spokesman both in the print and the electronic media.
On February 17, 2013, the Punch newspaper quoted Mr. Idowu as stating that the All Progressives’ Congress (APC) remained a political association, even though it was yet to be recognized by the commission.
The newspaper quoted Mr. Idowu as stating, “By law, we do not expect APC to come to INEC. The political parties that are fusing into another party will individually and respectively come back to INEC, notifying us that they are fusing into a party with a new identity.”
”The same Idowu also told TVC news on February 8, 2013 that INEC was expecting the leadership of the All Progressives’ Congress to apply for formal documentation. With these statements, it is clear that INEC has always had a constructive knowledge of the All Progressives’ Congress (APC) since the merger plan started, and that the emerging party did not have to do anything until all the component parties have held their conventions and ratified the constitution, manifesto and logo of the APC.”
The ACN said it wished to assure its “supporters within and outside Nigeria that there is no cause for alarm. The merger process is on course. The All Progressives’ Congress that is the legitimate people’s APC will berth safely and deliver Nigerians from the oppressive yoke of the PDP.
“We also wish to seize this opportunity to thank the thousands of concerned Nigerians who through text messages and emails have overwhelmed us with their advice and words of encouragement in the last two days.”
The party however called for vigilance on the part of all progressive forces in Nigeria “especially because we have it on good authority that a top official of INEC has boasted that the emergence of the All Progressives’ Congress (APC) will be frustrated at all costs.”
Mr. Mohammed’s statement added that, while the PDP had stated that it was not bothered by the coalition of opposing forces, the ruling party “has been having sleepless nights and working round the clock to device measures to sabotage the merger.” It cited the use of the phantom African People’s Congress in order to hijack the acronym APC. Mr. Mohammed warned that the current collusion between INEC and the PDP was “a tip of the iceberg.” He asked Nigerians to watch out for “more devilish plans by the PDP,” but added: “we are comforted by the fact that the forces of darkness have never prevailed over the forces of light.”