Three renowned constitutional lawyers, Prof Itse Sagay (SAN), Mallam Yusuf Ali (SAN) and Mallam Abubakar Malami (SAN) have told the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that the merging political parties seeking to be registered as All Progressives Congress (APC) have crossed the constitutional hurdles.
There has been anxiety that INEC has been put under intense pressure from politicians to deny the APC registration.
This is even as security may be beefed up in the nation’s capital, Abuja, following the threat by the leadership of the yet-to-be-registered APC to storm the city if INEC refused to announce its registration.
But the electoral body has since denied that it was under any form of pressure to stop the merging parties from being registered.
The chief press secretary to the INEC chairman Prof Attahiru Jega, Mr Kayode Idowu, has denied the report of any plan to frustrate the merger, stating that there was no basis for the parties to exercise any fear as the Electoral Act was clear on merging processes.
He also noted that there is no court injunction compelling INEC to stop the merger even as he said the electoral body will decide on the APC’s request tomorrow (Thursday).
“The stipulated 30 days after application for registration has not lapsed; so the commission has not broken any law,” Idowu said.
Regarding the issue of registration merging parties to form a political party, Section 84 (4) of the Electoral Act 2010 says: “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 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.”