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NIGERIA: African Peoples Congress (APC) Assembles 20 Lawyers Against INEC

African Peoples Congress (APC)African Peoples Congress (APC) has vowed to challenge the refusal to register it by the Independent National Electoral Commission in court. It described the INEC’s reasons for refusing it registration as “flimsy.”

The acting National Chairman of the party, Chief Onyinye Ikeagwuonu, told journalists in Abuja that he had contracted a 20-man legal team, led by two Senior Advocates of Nigeria, to pursue the case of the association in court.

He said, “A 20-man legal team led jointly by two SANs has been constituted and would tomorrow (today) move out of Abuja to Obudu to a secluded location for 10 days in-depth consideration of our legal options, processes and approaches to the matter.

“The section of the constitution which INEC cited merely provides that we should register the names and addresses of our national officers with INEC and this we clearly fulfilled. We provided the names, telephone numbers, local government areas and states of origin of our national officers to the commission.

“We strongly believe that the information we provided constitute enough addresses of our national officers for easy contact and identification, as the constitution is silent on what a valid address is. We expected the commission to write us, demanding for more detailed addresses of our national officers if the addresses we provided did not meet up with the commission’s administrative rules.

“APC wish to announce and declare our resolve to challenge this flimsy INEC decision in court as provided in section 79 of the Electoral Act.”

The party asked INEC to note that since it “has no right to register any other political party with our name, acronym, symbol or logo till the matter is finally disposed of by the court because by the provisions of the Section 79 of the Electoral Act, judicial review of INEC’s decision not to register a political association is the final stage in the process of political party registration.”

Ikeagwuonu added, “We have officially written to the INEC national chairman a letter of our intention to seek judicial review, which was equally copied to the INEC National Secretary, INEC Political Party Department and Legal department all which have been received and acknowledged by the commission.”

The association claimed that since the decision by INEC, “there have been threats and there have been offers of settlement; there have been meetings and there have been consultations; there have been plots and counter plots; claims and counter claims and above all, there have been a desperate helter-skelter search for grounds, legally or illegally, to abort the far advanced process of registering the African Peoples Congress as a political party.”

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