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Not yet Uhuru: APC faces fresh challenges over chosen acronym

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The All Progressives Congress may yet have to cross another hurdle in its bid to get the Independent National Electoral Commission to register it as a bonafide political party in Nigeria. On approaching the INEC for approval, another political party All Progressive Congress of Nigeria has sued over the use of the APC acronym.

According to Mr. Oguzie Ikechukwu, the APCN National Secretary, his party would seek a court order that will stop the INEC from approving the APC acronym for the All Progressives Congress. He (Ikechukwu) is relying on the sections 2 and 5 of the Freedom of Information Act to ask INEC to furnish it with the names and applications of any other association laying claim to the APC acronym.

[READ: Who wears the crown? Bisi Akande, Tom Ikimi battle for APC chairmanship]

[READ: It’s crunch time: Disagreements in APC over sharing of party offices]

As part of the INEC’s registration requirements each political party is to furnish it with the addresses of the national officers as required by section 222(a) of the 1999 Constitution.

The All Progressives Congress is a merger of three political parties – the Action Congress of Nigeria, Congress for Progressive Change and the All Nigeria Peoples Party. It is, however, not clear if the application for registration as APC came with names and addresses of its national officers as the leadership had failed to choose a management team, leaving the signing of the necessary documents for the chairmen, secretaries and treasurers of each of the political parties to sign.

This has led to fears that they (APC) might suffer the same fate as the rival African People’s Congress which the INEC had earlier rejected its application on similar grounds.

The Punch reports:

Ikechukwu said the APCN was relying on sections 2 and 5 of the Freedom of Information Act to ask INEC to furnish it with the names and applications of any other association laying claim to the APC acronym.

He explained to journalists that the APCN had in a similar letter to INEC dated May 22 asked the commission to furnish it with the name of the group which it claimed had earlier applied for registration with such an acronym.

The commission, had, as part of its party registration requirements, asked the APC, now APCN, to furnish it with the addresses of the national officers as required by section 222(a) of the 1999 Constitution.

This, according to a source, has created tension among leaders of the opposition All Progressives Congress being promoted by three political parties viz: the Action Congress of Nigeria, Congress for Progressive Change and the All Nigeria Peoples Party.

It was however not clear whether the parties’ application to merge and be registered as APC came with names and addresses of their national officers.

The leadership of the merging political parties was unable to choose an interim management team thus leaving the task of signing the necessary INEC documents for the national chairmen, secretaries and treasurers of each of the political parties to sign.

There are fears however that the merger group may suffer the same fate with the rival African People’s Congress which the INEC had earlier rejected its application on similar grounds.

The APCN has vowed to resist any attempt to register any other political association with the APC acronym because it claimed to be the first to approach INEC with its letter of intent to be registered with the APC acronym.

The group which bears the same name and acronym with the merging opposition political parties, All Progressives Congress, commenced its registration process with a letter of intent to the commission on March 5, 2013.

It was the same time another group, the African People’s Congress, also approached the electoral body seeking to be registered with the same acronym.

In a new twist to the tale, the Alliance for Democracy has approached the court asking that it be included alongside INEC as a defendant in a suit filed by the African Peoples Congress against INEC over the refusal to register it.

A statement by the National Legal Adviser to the African Peoples’ Congress, Mr. Kingsley Nandi, on Thursday said AD’s action had been brought to its notice.

He said, “This is to officially confirm that the Alliance for Democracy in a surprise display of political and legal rascality has filed a suit at the Federal High Court Abuja seeking to be joined as a second defendant alongside INEC.

“As a result of inquiries and need to keep the public aware of the stages of our struggle we decided to let the press know.

“Our main suit against INEC (for the upturning of its decision not to register us) at the Federal High Court has reached an advanced stage as all necessary pleadings, affidavit and counter-affidavit have all been filed and exchanged between us and INEC.

“The court has fixed July 5, 2013 for the adoption of our written addresses and possibly judgment in this crucial case which will shape the road map to the 2015 elections.

“Note also that we have filled a counter-action to stop the new antics of AD by asking the court to strike out the application by AD.”


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