The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has accused the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of either suffering from crass ignorance or engaging in palpable mischief (or both) by saying the leaders of the All Progressives’ Congress (APC) should have registered the name with INEC before now.
In a statement issued in Lagos on Wednesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said it is disturbing that the ruling party in Africa’s largest democracy can exhibit such ignorance or mischief, when the legal requirements for a merger are well spelt out in the Electoral Act.
”For the avoidance of doubt, the law does not make any provision for any group to reserve a name at INEC, and the legal requirements for a merger do not allow registration until all the stipulated conditions have been met. Applying for registration before the conditions have been met will be like putting the cart before the horse, and would have been illegal and irregular.
”The only other way that the promoters of the APC could have registered the name before now is to short-circuit the system, like the PDP would have done. The ruling party’s modus operandi is lawlessness, underhand dealings and opaque transactions. That is why the fortunes of Nigeria have deteriorated rapidly under their watch.
”But as law-abiding citizens, APC leaders are following the stipulated conditions to the letter, and will not allow themselves to be stampeded into committing an illegality. Not even the PDP’s shameless act of sponsoring a phony party to instigate an acronym war and give an increasingly partisan INEC a reason not to register the All Progressives’ Congress will stampede the APC promoters,” it said.
ACN said that in order to educate the ignorant and mischievous PDP, it had decided to quote the requirements copiously:
— Section 84.(1): Any two or more registered political parties may merge on approval by the Commission following a formal request presented to the Commission by the political parties for that purpose.
— (2) Political parties intending to merge shall each give to the Commission 90 days notice of their intention to do so before a general election.
— (3) The written request for merger shall be sent to the Chairman of the Commission and shall be signed jointly by the National Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer for the time being of the different political parties proposing the merger and shall be accompanied by:
(a) A special resolution passed by the national convention of each of the political parties proposing to merger, approving the merger.
(b) The proposed full name and acronym, constitution, manifesto, symbol or logo of the party together with the addresses of the national office of the party resulting from the merger; and
(c) Evidence of payment of administrative costs of N100,000 or as may be fixed from time to time by an act of the National Assembly.
— (4) On receipt of the request for merger of political parties, the Commission shall consider the request and, if the parties have fulfilled the requirements of the Constitution and this Act, approve the proposed merger and communicate its decision to the parties concerned
before the expiration of the 30 days from the date of the receipt of the formal request. PROVIDED that if the Commission fails to communicate its decision within 30 days the merger shall be deemed to be effective.
(5) Where the request for the proposed merger is approved, the Commission shall withdraw and cancel the certificates of registration of all the political parties opting for the merger and substitute a single certificate of registration in the name of the party resulting from the merger.
”It is clear from the foregoing that the PDP, in its usual characteristics, was only playing to the gallery by wrongfully castigating the leaders of APC. Though the full name, acronym, constitution, manifesto and logo of the new party are ready, the component parties have yet to hold their individual conventions to ratify the merger, hence could not have presented a formal request for registration to INEC
”We are happy that Nigerians are discerning people, and that the PDP has given them one more reason to kick the ruling party’s butt in 2015,” ACN said