Pictures: New Party, African Peoples Congress (APC) Send Letter of Intent of Registration to Nigera’s Electoral Commission, INEC



The address given by the law firm that approached the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for registration of a new party, Legal World Chambers, belongs to another law firm that was oblivious of the development.

LEADERSHIP had yesterday exclusively published a bromide of a letter purportedly addressed to INEC by Legal World Chambers and signed by a lawyer, Barrister Nwokorie Samuel Chinedu, asking for the group to be registered as African Peoples Congress (APC).

In the said letter dated February 28, 2013, Chinedu claimed that the APC or its promoters are its clients on “whose instruction and authority” the said application letter was written.

But LEADERSHIP investigation has revealed that the firm does not operate from the address purportedly indicated on the headed letter paper.

A visit by LEADERSHIP correspondents to the address — Suite 1007, Block B, Anbeez Plaza in Wuse Zone 5, Abuja – turned dramatic as the correspondents came face to face with a different law firm boldly written on the entrance of the office — IJEOMA DESTINY CHAMBERS.

Initially, the chambers’ secretary, a middle-aged woman, was evasive before someone who identified himself as Barrister Anyabe Imabeni eventually decided to talk. But when LEADERSHIP spoke to Imabeni, he claimed that he was the only lawyer available at the time of the visit.

According to him, there are two law firms or chambers co-habitating the same office, namely, Maji-Emmanuel & Co and Ijeoma Destiny Chambers.

But Imabeni said he could only speak for Maji-Emmanuel & Co despite the fact that both firms share the same secretary.

Disowning the existence of Legal World Chambers, Imabeni said, “We don’t know about it, we are not a party to it, we are not privy to it and I am not aware that the counsel you have mentioned is in any of our offices here and perhaps if any such arrangement existed, I know for sure that I would know but you cannot rule out any possibility, as I am speaking for only Maji-Emmanuel & Co”.

When LEADERSHIP sought to know why Imabeni’s views couldn’t apply to the sister firm – Ijeoma Destiny Chambers – he emphatically maintained that he could only speak for Maji-Emmanuel & Co. Attempts to contact the principal partner or any other lawyer in Ijeoma Destiny Chambers proved abortive as they were said to have gone out and no one was in a position to speak for them or give out their phone numbers.

LEADERSHIP’s conversation with Chinedu on the phone numbers indicated on the headed letter paper turned more dramatic. The following conversation ensued on MTN line number 08164257977 indicated on the letter paper of Legal World Chambers :

LEADERSHIP: Good afternoon, sir, am I speaking with Barrister Nwokorie Samuel Chinedu of Legal World Chambers?

Chinedu: Who are you?


LEADERSHIP:
I am calling from LEADERSHIP Newspapers.

Chinedu: Okay, call me back later.

About 30 minutes later, another call was placed to Chinedu on the same

number and the following conversation ensued:

LEADERSHIP: I called you earlier from LEADERSHIP Newspapers.


Chinedu:
Yeah, who did you say you want to speak with?

LEADERSHIP:
Barrister Nwokorie Samuel Chinedu, lawyer to African Peoples Congress.

Chinedu: My friend, this is a wrong number, you are talking to the wrong person (cuts off the conversation).

Further calls to his second line (08053957522) were not answered.

NBA to investigate identity of lawyer

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has said it is embarrassed by media reports that one Barrister Nwokorie Samuel Chinedu has a different address apart from the one in a letter purportedly written to the INEC chairman seeking registration of African Peoples Congress (APC).

The lawyers’ association became worried that the said address on Chinedu’s ed letter paper in which he addressed the letter to INEC was nowhere to be found in Abuja.

When LEADERSHIP contacted the national secretary of the NBA, Mr. Emeka Obegolu, he stated that the association would probe the matter. He also demanded a formal letter so that the matter could be taken up at secretariat level for investigation.

Similarly, the NBA chairman of the Abuja branch told LEADERSHIP in an interview to do a formal letter so that it could be circulated to two other branches of the lawyers’ body in Gwagwalada and Bwari in order to investigate the matter.

INEC Lied On African Peoples Congress’ Application – ACN

The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has accused INEC of engaging in bare-faced lies and manipulation of facts by claiming that the phantom African Peoples Congress (APC) has applied to the commission for registration.

In a statement issued in Abuja yesterday by its national publicity secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the INEC’s claim as articulated by the spokesman for INEC chairman, Mr. Kayode Idowu, is not supported by the relevant sections of the Electoral Act regulating the registration of a political party.

It said the truth of the matter is that no party today with the acronym APC has applied to INEC to be registered, adding that even the phantom African Peoples Congress – which is being sponsored by the PDP to lay claim to the acronym – has only written a letter of intent which has not even been discussed by INEC, talk more of the commission taking any decision on it.

‘’The statement credited to Mr. Idowu is therefore reckless and provocative and clearly betrays INEC as truly having merged with thePDP to frustrate the merger of the progressives under the banner of the All Progressive Congress (APC). One wonders who the spokesman is speaking for and what interest he represents. He should therefore be called to order before he sets the country ablaze,’’ ACN said.

The party said in order to debunk INEC’s claim that the phantom African Peoples Congress has applied for registration, it is calling the attention of all the good people of Nigeria to the sections of the Electoral Act that are relevant to party registration:

- Part V: Political Parties of the Electoral Act, Section 78 (1) says:”A political association that complies with the provision of the Constitution and this Act for the purposes of registration shall be registered as a political party, provided that such application shall be duly submitted to the Commission not later than 6 months before a general election.”

- Section 78 (2) says: “The Commission shall on receipt of the documents in fulfilment of the conditions stipulated by the Constitution immediately issue the applicant with a letter of acknowledgement stating that all necessary documents have been submitted to the Commission”’

ACN said: ‘’In this case the applicants on behalf of the phantom African Peoples Congress, the clients of Legal World Chambers, have not submitted any of the documents stipulated by the Constitution to the Commission. They have only written a letter of intent and therefore INEC could not have issued them any letter of acknowledgment, not to talk of starting the process of verifying the documents.

‘’At this point they cannot even be regarded as applicants. Why then did INEC through its spokesperson gleefully go to the media to proclaim that another political association has applied to be registered as African Peoples Congress using the same acronym APC?

“Clearly INEC is on a mission of mischief and its paymaster is PDP who has been having sleepless nights since the merger arrangement was announced.’’

The party further called attention to Section 78 (6) of the Electoral Act, which says: “An application for registration as a political party shall not be processed unless there is evidence of payment of administrative fee as may be fixed from time to time by the Commission”

ACN said it is aware that the applicants in question have not even paid any administrative fees and therefore INEC could not have commenced processing their application, because there is no application before INEC as they have only written a letter of intent.

It said what has emerged over the registration issue is that INEC is in cahoots with the PDP to stampede the merging parties to commit errors and also intimidate them to drop the acronym APC, adding however: ‘’This has failed because as of today in accordance with the provisions of S. 78 (2) and S. 78 (6) of the Electoral Act as explained above, there is no applicant on record for the acronym APC,contrary to the deceit being spread by the INEC spokesman.

Below, is another report from LEADERSHIP regarding the attempt to register a new political party in Nigeria, African Peoples Congress (APC)

There were strong indications last night that the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is behind moves to register a new political party, African Peoples Congress (APC), with the sole aim of appropriating the acronym.

Agents of the PDP, according to sources, allegedly filed the papers for registration of the new grouping with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) last week to serve as a counterpoise to the fledgling All Progressive Congress (APC) — an amalgam of political parties including the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and the fractious All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).

But, in a swift reaction, the secretary of the PDP’s Board of Trustees, Senator Jubril Walid, told LEADERSHIP that the allegation that his party was behind the move to register the new grouping is baseless.

“It is not the duty of any political party to register another party, but the responsibility of the INEC. And this is a constitutional matter; so if INEC decides to register or, as the case may be, deregister any party, it is totally the duty of the electoral organ. But to insinuate that the PDP is behind the registration of a political party or not is nothing but pure mischief,” he said.

Nonetheless, secretary of the CPC Buba Galadima has asked the All Progressive Congress merger committee to start looking for a new name, blaming them for lacking the foresight to anticipate the emergence of another party seeking registration under the alias “APC”.

INEC has already confirmed the development. The chief press secretary to its chairman, Mr. Kayode Idowu, said that the new grouping had approached the commission for registration as a political party, but declared that it still had to fulfil some criteria before it could be registered. He refused to disclose the promoters of the party.

Idowu also disclosed that the merger party, APC, was yet to file any application with the INEC to be registered as a party.

However, some PDP chieftains sympathetic to the merger arrangement told LEADERSHIP last night that the recourse to float a new party with the same acronym is a desperate ploy to stall the registration of APC.

“I can tell you authoritatively: the PDP is behind the move to register APC, otherwise let the promoters show their faces. After all, you cannot be making moves to form a political association that will openly canvass for votes and supporters in hiding. They should be courageous enough to unmask themselves. Won’t they canvass for votes?” said a PDP chieftain who would not like his name in print. “The whole thing smacks of desperation. You don’t need any soothsayer to interpret whose hand it is. That has been an old game, but then it is a clarion call for the merging parties to move faster and stop dilly-dallying. The implication is that the merging parties should be forward-looking, bearing in mind that such political games are imminent in a power contest. The rule is clear: no two parties with similar acronym would be allowed to contest any election.”

Galadima: Start looking for new name

Lamenting the situation, CPC’s national secretary Galadima said the issue is not whether PDP is behind the move but the blame, he said, should go to the merger committee. The committee, he said, was busy playing to the gallery rather than moving faster. They should be blamed for what has happened, he said, urging the APC committee to start looking for a new name.

In a telephone chat with LEADERSHIP, Galadima blamed the merger committee for underestimating the PDP, saying the committee “should have silently done what they are doing, register the party and then do convention. They have to change the name now”.

Blaming the merger committee for what he called “their lack of foresight”, he said: “They gave room for the current situation. PDP will do everything under its powers to scuttle the process, but you should be one step ahead. When you are up against a party like the PDP you have to be extremely careful. There is no need to fight anybody. They should look for another name.”

The application letter for the registration of the party, which originated from the LEGAL WORLD CHAMBERS (Legal Practitioners), was dated February 28, 2013, and addressed to the chairman of INEC.

The letter signed by Barr. Nwokorie Samuel Chinedu, which is in possession of LEADERSHIP, reads in part: “Application for Approval to Register ‘African Peoples Congress’ As a Political Party in Nigeria.

We are solicitors to the promoters of AFRICAN PEOPLES CONGRESS (hereinafter referred to as “our clients”) on whose instructions and authority we write you this letter.

“Our clients in pursuance of their political ambitions intend to register a political party in Nigeria with the name “AFRICAN PEOPLES CONGRESS.

“Premised on the above, we therefore humbly wish to apply to your office for approval to register ‘AFRICAN PEOPLES CONGRESS’ as a political party in Nigeria, having carried out a search on the proposed name to the effect that no other political party registered in Nigeria bears same.

“We will be very grateful if our request is granted as we pledge to comply with all the requirements of your esteemed commission.

“Thank you in anticipation of your kind consideration.”

Culled from a Nigerian newspaper, Leadership

What are you thinking?

One Response to “Pictures: New Party, African Peoples Congress (APC) Send Letter of Intent of Registration to Nigera’s Electoral Commission, INEC”

  1. Anonymous says:

    This is sad

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