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.
Similar letter was sent to the lawyers of the All Progressives Congress, though the commission did not make any reference to ongoing court action by the African People’s Congress, challenging its non-registration by INEC.
Meanwhile, the battle over the APC acronym may have entered a crucial stage, as the African People’s Congress has also initiated a counter move to have INEC reject the application of the All Progressives Congress, which is expected to be submitted after all the merging parties had concluded their conventions.
In a one-page letter by its lawyer, Awa Kalu, to the INEC chairman, dated April 26 and received same day by INEC, the African People’s Congress reminded INEC of the pendency of the legal action seeking to upturn the decision of INEC not to register the African People’s Congress, in a suit No FHC/ABJ/CS/224/13 between Chief Ikeagwuonu and 29 ors vs INEC.
It will be recalled that the African People’s Congress, a political association seeking registration, was denied registration by INEC on the grounds that their application did not contain the address of its national officers, an action the party had countered as untrue, stating that INEC was on a deliberate mission to stop it.
Section 79 of the Electoral Act gives a political association, whose application for party registration is rejected, 30 days within which to seek judicial review of the decision, a provision the African People’s Congress had already exploited, with its pending litigation at the Federal High Court, Abuja, seeking judicial review of the decision of INEC.