By Onyebuchi Ezigbo
The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to be fair and unbiased in handling the registration of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Speaking in the same view the National Publicity Secretary of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), Chief Emma Eneukwu, urged the commission not to succumb to pressures from agents of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to frustrate the registration of the new opposition coalition party.
Eneukwu, who spoke to THISDAY Sunday, said though it would be shocking to the merging parties if INEC rejects the registration application for APC, the merging parties had the capacity to forge ahead.
But ACN said since the promoters of APC has met all the requirements to consummate their merger, INEC had no reason whatsoever not to approve the merger.
In a statement issued on by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said in spite of recent media reports concerning the antics of some negative forces within INEC over APC's registration, the emerging party's leadership had no doubt that in the end, the electoral body would do what was right in accordance with the law.
“We urge INEC not to compromise its neutrality and integrity by acting contrary to the law. We remind the commission that Nigerians are keenly watching how it will handle this merger issue, and whatever it does will determine whether or not Nigerians can count on it to organise a free, fair and credible elections in 2015,” the statement stated.
The party expressed satisfaction with the statement credited to the spokesman of the INEC chairman, Mr. Kayode Idowu, that there was no court injunction compelling the commission to stop the merger.
“We believe we are on the same page with INEC as far as this trail-brazing merger is concerned, and that has been confirmed by the INEC spokesman, and we therefore call on the commission to do the proper thing now, which is the registration of APC.
“There is no doubt that INEC is under tremendous pressure, from both the card-carrying PDP members of the commission and their collaborators who are mortally afraid of the merger, and who will want the electoral body to commence, right now, the process of rigging the 2015 election in their favour. Given the already over-heated polity ahead of the 2015 elections, we believe INEC will not do anything that will aggravate the situation,” it said.
The party, therefore, dismissed as a mere speculation the report that INEC was planning to write a letter to the proponents of APC to find another name because of a court case instituted by a political association over the APC acronym.
“We are convinced that INEC has no discernible reason to write such a letter to us. In the first instance, there exists no court injunction anywhere restraining the commission from registering APC. There could be many court cases, but until there is a court order, no one can pre-empt what a court will do and act on that basis.
“Again, we have met all the stipulated requirements. INEC has also inspected our proposed headquarters in Abuja and sighted all our interim officers. The merger process may be novel, but we have played according to the rules and we expect nothing less from INEC,” ACN said.
The party had appealed to all the supporters of the emerging APC across the country to remain calm over the registration issue.
“We know that many of our teeming supporters are upset by the report of the shenanigans in INEC over this issue. But it is important for them to remain law-abiding as we await the decision of INEC. We are confident, going by the words of INEC itself, that the court case instituted by those laying claim to the APC acronym has no bearing on what is going on,” the party assured.