APC’s Merger Application Splits INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission is divided over the merger application submitted by opposition parties’ to form the All Progressives Congress.

Our correspondents learnt on Monday that the division came about on the issue of whether to approve the APC’s application or request it to change its name.

It was gathered that the top management team of the commission would take a final decision on the application this week.

A top official of the commission, who confided in one of our correspondents, said, “Some members of INEC management team are of the view that the merging parties should be asked to look for another name, while others are insisting that the application should be granted.

“The final decision on the application will be taken this week and merging parties will know their fate.”

Based on Section 84 (4) of the 2010 Electoral Act, the commission should, within  30 days  of receiving an application, communicate its decision to  merger parties.

Section 84 (4) of the Electoral Act states, “On receipt of the request for merger of political parties, the commission shall consider the request; and if the parties have fulfilled the requirements of the Constitution and this Act, approve the proposed merger and communicate its decision to the parties concerned before the expiration of thirty (30) days from the date of the receipt of the formal request

“Provided that if the commission fails to communicate its decision within 30 days, the merger shall be deemed to be effective.”

The merging parties, had, in a letter, dated June 5, 2013, informed the commission of their plan to merge.

In response to the letter, the Secretary to the commission, Abdullahi Kaugama, wrote the parties, asking them to submit 35 copies of the new party’s proposed constitution; 35 copies of its manifesto; and an affidavit in support of the claims in Form PA 1.

The parties, in response to INEC’s demand,  on July 1 wrote the commission and submitted the documents.

There have been confusions regarding whether INEC would start counting the 30 days from June 5, when the merging parties first submitted their application or July 1, when they complied with the commission’s request on the submission of documents.

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