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MERGER GROUP LEADERS AFTER US - RIVAL APC

By NBF News
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African Peoples Congress logo and flag
The African Peoples Congress on Friday alleged that some elements 'inspired' by the merger group of the Action Congress of Nigeria, All Nigeria Peoples Party and Congress for Progressive Change were after its key officers.

The rival APC, in an email sent to journalists in Abuja by its Acting Secretary, Sa'id Balogun, said the alleged plot was part of moves to thwart its registration.

It said, 'The APC has uncovered plots by some faceless persons believed to be inspired by desperate elements in the so-called merger group to attack and possibly eliminate key officers of the African Peoples Congress.

'This came to light barely twenty four hours after APC, its national headquarters, logo, manifesto and constitution were unveiled to Nigerians and indeed Africa.'

The party did not, however, name the key officers that were pencilled for elimination.

'After the elaborate event and appraisal meetings and stakeholders' interactions that followed at the National headquarter, most officers of the party left the secretariat late yesterday (Thursday).

'At about 10.15pm when an officer of the party, Hon Dan Iloabanafo, and some administrative staff were getting ready to close the secretariat for the day, two men came round the backside of the office claiming they wanted to register as members of the party, a feature that has become common place in the secretariat. But Iloabanafo advised them to come back the next day or any other week day.

'The hoodlums insisted they preferred to be registered immediately, and while the party officer was trying to explain things to them, they pulled out guns and demanded the whereabouts of the acting chairman who had left the secretariat earlier,' the party said.

It said the merger group on learning about its unveiling of logo rushed off to the media.

The party said, 'As their helter-skelter search for means to undermine the APC continues, we wish to alert Nigerians of their grand plot of smuggling a back-dated application for registration into the INEC, an action that could plunge Nigerian democracy into the woods of lawlessness. For APC, that is most unacceptable.

'It is indeed pathetic that same people that claim to pursue the deepening of democracy cannot abide by the letters of the constitution and due process.

'While the merger racketeers continue to fiddle, the APC leadership would be paying a visit to the victims of the Madalla bomb blast this weekend as an expression of our people-centred objectives.'

Reacting to the allegations, ACN spokesman, Lai Mohammed, challenged the rival APC to reveal its sponsors.

He asked, 'Do you remember in the 1990s that there was an association called the Association for Better Nigeria? The group came up but it soon fizzled out after it scuttled the June 12 elections.

'This is another ABN, what they want to do is to scuttle this democracy. Let them reveal those really behind them because, what you are seeing are the puppets; we will reveal the puppeteer within the next few days.'

Also speaking, CPC National Publicity Secretary, Rotimi Fashakin, accused the unregistered group of desperation.

He stated, 'You know, the Bible says the wicked runs while no one pursues. I don't really understand, is it that poverty is very endemic that they are doing this?

'The same metaphor comes up each time we are approaching elections. These reactionary elements come up on election day to give people N20, N50, N100 to vote for them and the sorrows of the people will be multiplied for four years.

'Don't you think it is high time that the people rose against these people that have continually held them in bondage? I think it is time for Nigerians to send a clear message.'

Meanwhile, several anomalies seen in Form PA 1, submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission by the promoters of African Peoples Congress have cast doubts on the authenticity of the application.

Copies of the form, which were made available to journalists at a news briefing in Abuja on Friday, indicated that the one used by group seeking the endorsement of INEC to transform into a political party was different from the standard application for registration forms used by the commission for such purposes.

For example, whereas the INEC form can only be hand-filled with the use of a pen, the APC apparently generated and filled theirs on-line.

Also, the original INEC forms do not have demarcations in the column for names of the national executive committee members and other officers of the proposed political party.

Curiously, the one submitted by the APC has obvious demarcations.

Apart from this, on the page tagged, 'Date of filling Application with the Commission' in the APC's form, it was observed that while the proposed party put the date as March 1, 2013, those who signed it put March 12, 2013 under their names.

Those who signed the application are the National Chairman, Chief O.M. Ikeagwuonu and the National Secretary, Mr. Saidi Balogun.

Both officers insist that the document is genuine and that it was from the commission.

However, while Balogun said there could have been a mistake due to time constraint, Ikeagwuonu said the party was right.

Speaking at a news briefing in Abuja on Friday, a group, which gave its name as Concerned Nigerians, said the APC rushed to the commission to seek registration in order to scuttle plans by opposition political parties, who had chosen the name, All Progressives Congress.

Those who spoke at the conference were: Mr. Salihu Lukman, Mahmud Abdullahi, Kawu Idris and AbdulAminu Ahmed.

The group alleged that an unnamed top official of the Presidency was the brain behind the act, adding that some officers within the commission were still card-carrying members of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party.

Saturday PUNCH also visited the secretariats of two of the three political associations seeking INEC's endorsement.

At the proposed  national headquarters of the African Peoples Congress located on Plot 983,  Ahmadu Bello Way, opposite Apo Legislative Quarters, it was observed that technicians were installing electrical fittings while some others were seen putting up the party's banner in and around the building.

Searches conducted on its website: www.apcparty.com on Thursday and Friday revealed that the site is still being developed.

A message on the site read: 'Welcome, this domain was recently registered at namecheap.com the domain owner may currently be creating a great site for this domain please check back later!'

An Internet search for the identity of the Protem National Chairman of the African Peoples Congress, Chief Onyiye M. Ikeagwuonu, did not yield any result. He also did not respond to enquiries about his vocation nor was he willing to give any detail about himself.

The other claimant of the APC acronym: All Patriotic Citizens, one  Mr. Oliva  Chidi Ike, who claimed to be its National Director of Operations, sent two names: Aliyu Jibrin and Abubakar Saulawa and Chief Christian Oti as members of the National Working Committee.

However, the group has said it is no longer interested in using the acronym APC because of the controversy it has generated.

However, one of our correspondents visited the proposed National Headquarters of the party  located at Plot 1385, Gurara Street, off IBB Way, Maitama, Abuja and discovered that it was the former National Headquarters of the Congress For Democratic Change, which was one of 28 parties deregistered by INEC in 2012.