Nigeria’s 18 remaining parties on Tuesday backed the recent de-registration of 74 political parties by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
In a communique signed at the end of an emergency meeting by the political parties under the umbrella of Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC), the Council said this action of INEC flows from the provisions of Section 225 A of the 4th Alteration No. 9 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
“It is therefore based on the lawfulness of the action of the Commission, the desirability of the need to sanitize the electoral space that we the 18 political parties in Nigeria hereby endorse this bold step by INEC and commend it for this worthy cause,” the Council said in the communique signed by representatives of the 18 political parties.
It said while the news of the de-registration was met with mixed feelings because the 74 Political Party chairmen who have been sacked are colleagues and allies who have in very many cases and at various places stood up for Nigeria and defended her cause, “It is this will to implement the law despite whose ox is gored that we require for our nation building.”
It however said the IPAC being the vehicle through which the political parties collectively engage with INEC and other stakeholders in the electoral system recognizes that this sanitization also created a vacuum in the leadership of the Council and in other to ensure the seamless contribution of the political parties to the electoral development, the parties resolved to set up an Interim Management Committee to run the affairs of the Council.
The communique added that the membership of the Committee shall be drawn from only the existing political parties and shall serve pending the time a proper election will be conducted.
The Interim Management Committee is headed by the chairman of the African Action Congress, Dr. Leonard Nzenwa
The communique said “this Interim Committee shall commence work immediately with INEC and other stakeholders including the National Assembly with a view to ensuring that the electoral reform processes which shall clean up our electoral system is elaborate and conclusive.”
But in a swift reaction by the ‘old’ members of executive in a telephone interview, National Treasurer of IPAC and ANRP National Chairman, Tope Fasua, dismissed Nzenwa’s position, saying he is just leading a faction of IPAC.
“That is a faction of IPAC, it’s normal in a political arrangement. We will ignore them, we have IPAC office, it’s either you disregard them or take them as a faction,” Fasua said.
Similarly, National Legal Adviser of IPAC, Ezeobika Chukwudi, described Nzenwa’s pronouncement as illegal, adding that AAC factional chairman’s position is unknown to law and IPAC’s constitution.
He said, “Such a press conference is illegal and unknown to law. We are not aware of it. The purported meeting is illegal and unknown to us. IPAC is still under the Chairmanship of High Chief Peter Ameh”.
Efforts to get reaction of IPAC Chairman, Peter Ameh did not succeed as calls put across his phone did not connect as at the time of filing this report.