by Rachel Ogbu
With the All Progressives Congress and the African People’s Congress bearing the same acronym, the APC, there are hints that former is considering a name change.
The two political parties are laying claim to the acronym in their bid to be recognised by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
According to reports, an alleged member of the All Progressives Congress had said that the party may be contemplating adding the word Nigeria to its name so the letter “N” would distinguish it from any other party.
“We may just add ‘N’ to our acronym if this matter drags on for too long. We find it diversionary,” the anonymous member reportedly told journalists.
But the National Publicity Secretary of the Congress for Progressive Change, Rotimi Fashakin, said that was hypothetical.
“Whatever anyone tells you about our merger now is speculative and untrue. We have said it over and again that the acronym APC is our intellectual property, whatever the PDP and its agents in the system are doing to frustrate our registration will not succeed,” Fashakin said.
Also, the National Publicity Secretary of the Action Congress of Nigeria, Lai Mohammed, said the All Progressive Congress said the claims about a name change were false.
“It is a big lie. We are not changing our name. We are sticking to our name.”
The Punch reports:
Calls made to the mobile telephone number of the National Publicity Secretary of the All Nigeria People’s Party, Mr. Emma Enekwu, did not go through. He also did not respond to a text message sent to him.
When one of our correspondents contacted the Chief Press Secretary to the National Chairman of INEC, Mr. Kayode Idowu, he said, “No comment.”
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, said on Saturday that the commission was neither aware nor frustrating the registration of the All Progressives Congress.
Jega who spoke on the Hausa programme, Hanu Dayawa, in Kaduna which was monitored by our correspondent on Saturday , noted that the APC officially notified the commission of their intention to merge into a political party about six days ago.
The INEC boss also ruled out the possibility of adopting the electronic voting in the 2015 general elections, saying the constitution was against the use of the system.
Insisting that no political party had notified the commission of any merger plan ahead of the 2015 general elections, Jega said, “The issue has generated controversy in the past few weeks. Firstly, the truth is that no political party wrote to notify us that it is planning to merge with some other political parties until the past five days or so.
“It is not true that we were notified. The issue became serious when one group came out to seek for registration and I guess that was what made them to write and notify us. But that is not the issue. The main issue is that there are guidelines for registered political parties who want to merge to become a new party. There are also guidelines for individuals or groups who want to form a political party for registration.
“The guidelines for registering new political pray are different from that of registered political parties who want to merge. For registered political parties who want to merge, they must have agreed to merge and each of the political party in the merger must hold a convention and agreed to withdraw their registration as a political party to become part of the new party to be form through the merger.
“After their conventions, they are expected to write and request INEC to withdraw their former registration and say they want to join a new party. In spite of all the controversies, none of these political parties who want to merge has held their convention.
“We only read in the newspapers that they have the intension of merging and nobody wrote us until about five or six days ago. If anybody wants to register a political party, you are expected to tell INEC of your intention by saying that you want to register a party with so and so name and you want to know the procedure for doing so.”
“People are just making noise over the name which is in the market while we have not even gotten to that stage. While all these noise were going on, another group came up seeking for registration with the same name.”
On the use of the electronic voting system in the 2015 general election, Prof. Jega noted that it was clear that the Nigerian constitution has prohibited the use of the system, adding that the commission would only use technology to improve on the registration of voters and improve on the electoral process.