The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, said on Monday on its Facebook page that contrary to media reports, it has not rejected a bid by some opposition parties to merge into the All Progressives Congress.
Top opposition parties in Nigeria, including the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN; Congress for Progressive Change, CPC; and the All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP; are currently finalizing plans to become a bigger political party.
Other political associations are also involved in the merger deal, which will be put in the hands of the electoral body to either reject or approve its registration.
But on Monday April 29, the Nigerian Tribune reported that INEC denied the APC registration.
“The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has written to the All Progressives Congress, disclosing that its acronym, in its application seeking registration as a political party, clashes with that of the African People’s Congress.
“In a letter dated April 23, 2013 and signed by its secretary, Abdulahi Kaugama, the commission informed leaders of the All Progressives Congress of another party, the African People’s Congress, advising that a change of name may be an option,” the Tribune reported.
The electoral commission described the statements as “utterly false”
“The Commission has not written to stop the merger bid as APC,” INEC said.
“The Commission, in a letter by its Secretary dated April 23rd, 2013, only declined an application by another association seeking to register as the All Progressives Congress of Nigeria (APCN), for the reason that the acronym proposed by the association is similar to that of another already seeking registration,” INEC said on a Facebook post signed by Kayode Idowu, its Chief Press Secretary.
Various associations have sought registration as political parties bearing the acronym APC, with various meanings.
One of the political associations, the African Peoples Congress, lost its bid to register as a political party. The party aggrieved at this, went to court to challenge the decision of INEC. It also asked the court to compel INEC to refuse any other group the acronym APC.
On the other hand, the All Progressives Congress has constantly accused the African Peoples Congress of being a tool of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, aimed at botching the merger attempts of the opposition parties, an accusation the PDP has denied.
One of the political parties involved in the merger, the Action Congress of Nigeria, held its convention in Lagos on April 18, and approved its fusion into the APC.
The convention witnessed other stakeholders in the merger deal including the presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change in 2011, Muhammadu Buhari, and the party’s National Chairman, Tony Momoh.