Another crisis brewing in APC as ANPP Seeks To Halt Merger

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The formation of the mega opposition party, the All Progressives’ Congress (APC) is being threatened as a group in the All Nigeria Peoples Party is seeking to halt the merger and registration of the APC.


The  ANPP is one of the three main opposition parties together with the Action Congress of Nigeria and  the Congress for Progressive Change who are merging to form the APC with the aim of  defeating the ruling People’s Democratic Party in the 2015 elections.


Until last week, the All Progressives Congress, the African People’s Congress and the All Patriotic Citizens had been embroiled in a controversy over who had the right to use the acronym, APC.


The All Patriotic Citizens dropped its name, while the Independent National Electoral Commission declined to register the African People’s Congress which hitherto  insisted on its name and  the acronym.


The opposition parties had separately and collectively accused the PDP of sponsoring those behind the parties contending the APC acronym.


In calling for an end to ANPP’s  involvement in the merger, the splinter group alleged that all the parties to the arrangement were not being given equal treatment.


The group sent a letter addressed to the ANPP National Chairman, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, in which they gave the party’s leadership three weeks to pull out of the merger to avoid committing political suicide.


The letter was dated  April 2 and signed by the convener of the group  and  the Usuma ward Chairman of the ANPP, in Bwari Area Council, Abuja, Mallam Isa Bala. INEC chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega was also sent a copy.


In the letter entitled, “MERGER/APC CRISIS: HOW WE HAVE BEEN FOOLED & DECEIVED BY BOLA TINUBU/ACN PARTY (THE SECRET TINUBU IS HIDING FROM US (MERGING PARTNERS),” the group alleged that  the All progressives Congress was the brainchild of a former Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu, who had in 2006 formed a political group with the acronym, APC.


According to it , the same APC, which was registered in January 2006  transformed to the ACN in August 2006 under Tinubu’s  leadership


It argued that the same people who sponsored the “failed” APC   were insisting on the acronym just to expand their political empire.


A copy of the letter which was obtained by this correspondent eads in part,  “The merger could have also provided a strong two -party system in Nigeria which will produce a virile opposition as it is obtained in advanced democracies of the world.


“The gains of the merger cannot be over-emphasised as the generality of Nigerians had anxiously waited for its realisation.


“However, to our utter bewilderment, we have discovered the unholy, inordinate, ulterior motive of a few insatiable political gluttons, who are largely obsessed with the self-driven interest of expanding their political empire to the detriment of the greater majority of Nigerians.


“We the members of ANPP Concerned Stakeholders, therefore, call upon our national leadership to henceforth suspend involvement in the merger process until this and other questions are answered.


“It has become obvious that the merger partners are not treated as equal entities in the merger project, rather it is being dominated by the  Bola Tinubu- led ACN.


“The interest of our great party is evidently, not adequately protected, in the present merging arrangement. Therefore, our party cannot surrender its identity that all our founding fathers have laboured for, to satisfy the interest of an individual.


“Consequently, we give our national leadership three weeks to suspend their involvement in the merger if this anomaly is not corrected. We also urge our national leadership to start discussing the possibility of forming alliance with the Congress for Progressive Change and other political parties on basis of mutual respect and equality for one another in the 2015 general elections  .


“On this note, we encourage the CPC led by General (Muhammadu) Buhari to also review its stance and stake in the merger arrangement, as it is a hoax that can yield no political or democratic dividend.


“As earlier advocated,  an alliance with CPC and other political parties  where Gen. Buhari, a time-tested leader is presented as a presidential candidate, will garner an overwhelming acceptance from Nigerians.”


However, the National Publicity Secretary of the ANPP, Chief Emma Eneuku,  dismissed members of the group as impostors who were being used to distract the merger.


He said, “He (Bala)  is not a member of our party. He is just one of  those people they are using to distract what we are doing.  A member of my party cannot just write INEC, we have a NEC (National Executive Committee) meeting on the 11th of this month, where everybody will come. Anyone who does not   like what we are doing  can  approach the party. When somebody is working like this, you know he is not working for our  party.”


Also, the National Publicity Secretary of the ACN, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, recalled that Nigerians had been previously informed that the PDP would stop at nothing to frustrate the merger.


He said, “The ANPP has disowned the man. It is part of the antics to distract us from what we are doing. The ANPP says they don’t know him; he is an agent being used by the PDP to derail the process.


“The name APC did not even come from the ACN. If I can remember very well, it was  the ANPP that even came with the name not us, what is his grouse? What has INEC got to do with this? I think he is just one who is seeking attention. We told Nigerians a few days ago that the Presidency will do everything to derail the merger; this is one of it.”


The CPC was also of the opinion that the whole affair was part of the same script which  showed the level of desperation of opponents of the merger.


“Their plan failed. It is not surprising that the PDP is making another failed attempt at scuttling the merger by using a political neophyte who is unaware of the legitimacy in our political system. Such is the confusion of the PDP company,” its  National Publicity Secretary, Rotimi Fashakin, said.


When contacted, INEC  Director of Information,  Mr. Emmanuel Umenger,  said he was in a meeting   and could not be unavailable for comments.


But the  Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Mr. Kayode Idowu,  said, “I have not seen the letter.”

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