Thursday, 1 August 2013

Update On The Registration Of APC; Plus Latest Reactions

As you already know, the Independent National Electoral Commission has approved the registration of the All Progressives Congress, thereby putting an end to the political horse-trading over the ownership of the acronym: APC.

The historic registration have since been attracting reactions from several quarters:
The APC, the Peoples Democratic Party, Arewa Consultative Forum, a former Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu, the presidential candidate of ACN in 2011, Nuhu Ribadu, etc.

The APC described the development as victory for Nigerians, the PDP said it would not lose sleep over it.

In a statement by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the APC said with its registration, Nigerians now had an alternative to the ruling PDP, which it said had taken them “ for a bad ride in the past 14 years.”

It added that its registration would propel the country to the league of top democratic nations with two major political parties.

The statement reads, “The journey has been long and tortuous. All sorts of obstacles were thrown onto our path by anti-democratic forces, but we were painstaking, determined and unrelenting in our quest for a formidable platform that will allow our country, Nigeria, to achieve her full potential and join the league of respectable nations.

“With the approval of our merger by the INEC and the emergence of the APC, today (Wednesday) marks the beginning of a new dawn for our country and her long-suffering people. We thank Nigerians both here and in the Diaspora for standing by us.

“We thank the media for their fairness and we commend the INEC for doing the right thing and for not succumbing to pressure from phantom political associations that sought to force it to circumvent the law.

“We promise not to disappoint Nigerians who have reposed much confidence in us. We say that contrary to the lies being peddled by the naysayers, we are not seeking political power for the sake of getting it, but in order to use it to empower our people and allow their long-nursed hopes and dreams to become a reality.

“And to those who have vowed to change their names if APC survives for a year, we hope they will live up to their words.’’

The party promised to unveil, in the days ahead, its membership registration plans to give all Nigerians, especially those disenchanted with the way things were going on in the country, the much-awaited opportunity to be a part of the country’s democratic process in the true sense of the word.

‘’We will also be unveiling our plans to turn today’s hopelessness into a time of great opportunities, to reverse the downward slide in our socio-economic development, and to ensure that every Nigerian benefits from the commonwealth, instead of the present situation in which a few fat cats are milking the system dry at the expense of the citizenry,’’ it said.

One of the founders of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, said the registration by INEC signalled “the commencement of a new phase in the struggle to bring true democratic change to Nigeria.”

Describing the coming together of the ACN, CPC and ANPP as not just a merger, he said “this is the first ever merger in the history of Nigeria and it represents a paradigm shift in our politics.”

Tinubu, who congratulated the ACN, CPC and ANPP governors as well as other leaders of the APC for making the registration possible, however, challenged all progressive politicians to “ rise up to answer the call of history to liberate our people.”

He also hailed “millions of Nigerians who stood by us during the long process to form the APC,” and the leadership of INEC “for this positive pronouncement.”

“Nigerians must give INEC a pat on the back for complying with the law of the land. What INEC has done is to follow the constitution and the electoral act to the letter. We hope INEC will continue in this spirit of independence and respect for the rule of law in all its future operations, “ Tinubu said in a statement by his media aide, Sunday Dare.

A co-founder of the APC and the presidential candidate for the CPC in the last presidential poll , Maj-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, said he would not react now on the registration because the National Chairman of the new party, Chief Bisi Akande, had yet to brief him.

“ The general cannot react to the registration now because he is yet to be briefed by our national chairman , Chief Akande. So until the general hears from the national hierarchy of the party, he will not comment on the registration of the party. He will talk to the press as soon as he is well informed from the national level,” said Buhari’s spokesman, Yau Darazo.

Ribadu also welcomed the registration and charged members of the APC to strive hard for the ultimate goal of dislodging the PDP.

In a statement in Abuja, he congratulated key players in the ACN, CPC and ANPP “for setting their personal interests aside in order to allow for the mutation of a pan-Nigerian party that can provide a credible alternative to the ruling party”.

The statement by his media aide, Abdulaziz Abdulaziz, quoted him as saying, “Like millions of Nigerians from all over the country, I am immensely delighted over the successful registration of the All Progressives Congress by INEC.”

According to him, the registration of the party by the electoral body “is not the end but the beginning of the end of misrule and cluelessness” by the PDP.

The former CPC also threw its weight behind the INEC decision, saying it had given Nigerians a choice between “good and evil.”

“Today(Wednesday) Nigerians now have a choice between good and evil. Now that the APC has been registered, genuine choice has been put before Nigerians.For the very first time, Nigeria and Nigerians have now been put at the driver’s seat of their destiny, it said through its ex-National Publicity Secretary, Rotimi Fashakin.

On its part, the ACF said the registration of APC would enhance the growth of democracy in the country.

Its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Anthony Sani, told one of our correspondents that any democracy without a viable opposition was as good as a fraud.

“The registration of the APC as a political party is a healthy development needed for the growth of democracy, especially when regard is paid to the fact that any democracy without a viable alternative platform is a sham,” it said.

However, the PDP which also welcomed the registration, said the APC was not a threat to its dominance of the nation’s political scene.

“The registration of the new party poses no threat to the PDP. The ruling party still maintains its preeminent position and enjoys the widest popularity and acceptance among Nigerians across the country,” its Acting National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Tony Okeke, said in a statement.

The PDP added, “With the registration of the APC, Nigerians now expect the leaders of the opposition party to eschew all forms of bitterness and desperation and desist from politics of propaganda which characterised their former parties.”

According to the PDP, Nigerians would like to see a “vibrant opposition” that would be constructively engaged in issues of governance instead of overheating the polity.

One of the groups that almost thwarted APC’s registration, the African People’s Congress held an emergency meeting, barely 30 minutes after INEC issued its statement approving the new party.

The African People’s Congress which will on Thursday (today) issue a statement on the APC registration, may have assembled a legal team to fine-tune the suit it filed at a Federal High Court, Abuja challenging its non-registration by INEC.

“We are aware of INEC’s decision. We are currently meeting on it. We will come out with a press statement tomorrow (today) and you will hear our appropriate response,” its National Legal Adviser, Mr. Kingsley Nnadi, told one of our correspondents in Abuja.

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