Daily Trust (Abuja)

26 March 2013

Nigeria: INEC Rejects Rival APC's Registration Application

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has rejected the application submitted by the African Peoples Congress seeking registration as a political party with the contentious APC acronym.

In a letter addressed to the chairman of the proposed African Peoples Congress dated March 21, 2013, INEC said the association failed to submit the addresses of its national officers as required by Section 222 (a) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The INEC letter with reference no INEC/DPPM&L/APC/490/V.1/76 reads: "The Commission has observed that your association is in breach of section 222(a) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 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 INEC.

"A close observation of your submitted form PA1 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."

Reacting to the refusal of their application, the African People's Congress (APC), which recently launched its logo and opened its offices in Abuja, yesterday said INEC's decision was a rape of democracy.

Acting national chairman of the party Chief Onyinye Ikeagwuonu told journalists: "Our attention has just been drawn to a desperate effort to consummate the black market transaction we warned about last Thursday, to deny the APC registration, citing purported irregularities in the addresses of our national officers while the INEC document required either residential address or phone number.

"We had earlier alerted Nigerians about this high level conspiracy and have thus been reliably informed today (yesterday) by an impeccable source that a draft letter denying APC registration is right now on the table of the INEC chairman waiting for his endorsement.

"INEC may have pandered to the whims and sentiments of the merger party who evidently are still grappling with the frustration of their inability to do the simplest task expected of an association scheming to be registered as a political party."

He said his party would not be cowed by "any petty gang-up", and that they are preparing to challenge what he called anti-democratic plot up to the Supreme Court.

When contacted last night, Kayode Idowu, a spokesman for the INEC chairman, confirmed that the letter refusing APC registration was from INEC and it reflects the commission's stance on the matter.

The 'APC' acronym has been claimed by two other groups since four opposition parties announced the formation of the All Progressives Congress (APC) last month.

The African Peoples Congress quickly filed its registration request earlier this month, allegedly propped up by Presidency foot soldiers so as to frustrate the All Progressive Congress.

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