Pressure from “high quarters” is said to be mounting on the principal officers of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to not register the All Progressive Congress (APC), a coalition of the main opposition political parties seeking to dethrone the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2015 general elections.
LEADERSHIP findings yesterday revealed that the INEC chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, is resisting the pressure from what a source described as “high quarters” to not register APC as a political party.
Professor Jega confided in one of his friends that “if the pressure continues I will be left with no option except to throw in the towel”.
It was learnt that the INEC chairman had lamented that the reputation he had built over the years as an intellectual and an activist of international repute had taken a huge bashing because he accepted the electoral umpire job.
Both the 1999 Constitution, as amended, and the Electoral Act 2011, as amended, vest the power to register or de-register political parties in INEC.
Three political parties – the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) – had resolved to merge under the platform of the APC. However, representatives of the three political parties are putting final touches to their papers to seek registration by INEC.
The INEC chairman, it was learnt, had confided in his close friends that pressure was being mounted on him to not register APC as a political party when the parties formally requested registration.
His worries were compounded by the fact that the national leadership of the APC was finding it difficult to fast-track its registration process, LEADERSHIP gathered.
Both the presidency and the ruling PDP, it was further gathered, are plotting to make the merger flop so that each of the merging political parties would vie for elective offices on their individual platforms in the 2015 general election.
There had been an earlier plot for the electoral commission to not register the Buhari/Tinubu-led APC: another political party with the same acronym, African Peoples Congress (APC), had sought registration with INEC.
Meanwhile, the leaders of APC will soon announce the names of its interim national officers who would serve as the party’s liaison with INEC for its registration.
The three officers that would be selected to serve on interim basis, according to LEADERSHIP findings, are those of chairman, secretary and treasurer.
Party registration purely administrative matter– INEC
When contacted over the matter of APC registration, the chief press secretary of Jega, Mr Kayode Idowu, stated that party registration under INEC is purely administrative matter.
He said, “Every application for registration in INEC is a routine administrative matter and will be handled as such.”