The Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, has assured that plans towards the formation of the All Progressives Congress, APC, were still on course irrespective of reservations expressed by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC that a change of name would be required.
Buhari, CPC; Onu,ANPP; Okorocha, APGA and Tinubu, ACN
While assuring that the parties were on course, the party said that it and other parties in the merger plans were fully conscious of the legal processes involved and adhering to same.
The party’s assurance was on the heel of suggestions by INEC chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega at the weekend that the merger parties would be required to adopt a new name upon the fact that the APC acronym had been adopted by another party seeking registration.
Jega had also said that he received the notice of intention of merger from the parties only last week.
Plans by three opposition parties including ACN, the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC and the All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP to collapse into the All Progressives Congress, APC, have lately been challenged by the aspiration of two other political associations seeking registration with the same acronym. The two other associations are the African Peoples Congress and the All Patriotic Citizens.
ACN National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, however, disagreed, yesterday, with Jega’s claim that the ACN only wrote to INEC of its plans for a merger last week. Mohammed said that the letter claimed by Jega as a notice of merger was actually a letter inviting the commission to their national convention where the merger process was expected to be ratified.
Asserting that the process was wholly in conformity with the requirements of the law, Mohammed said that there was no reason to doubt the progress of the opposition parties towards their merger.
“So, if you want your application to be considered, go and change your name because it is not possible to register three groups with the same name.”
We have not even reached the stage of registering any group. When we get to that stage, we will take the appropriate decisions,” Jega had said during a radio interview last Saturday. He had also been quoted as saying that a notification to merge only came last week.
Responding yesterday, Mohammed said:
“What he is referring to is the notice of our convention, not notice to merge. We sent him a notice that we are going to convention where we are going to talk about the issue of our merger and invited INEC as the law provides.
“We understand what we are doing and the only time we are supposed to notify INEC is provided for in Section 84 (3) which states that the written request must be accompanied by the resolution of the party at their convention and since we have not gotten there how can we write them a letter.”
“There is no provision in that law that says that we must notify INEC before that time. The only other section is 84 (2) simply states that the merging parties must notify INEC of their intention at least 90 days before a general election and we have more than two years before that election.”
“If you read the provisions of the law very well you will understand that the only time that we are expected to notify INEC is only after a convention and section 3 is very clear that such written requests shall be addressed to the national chairman of INEC and must be signed by the chairmen, secretaries and treasurers of the merging parties,” Mohammed added.
Mohammed also rejected Jega’s claim that he had written to the parties in the merger plans on the need to seek another name as he said the ACN as at last night was yet to receive such communication.
“That cannot be referring to us as we have received no letter as at today and we are aware that they have written to African Progressive Congress and All Patriotic Congress,” Mohammed said.