The African People’s Congress on Thursday in Abuja raised the alarm that some conspirators had infiltrated INEC in order to deny it accreditation through “black market transaction.”
It claimed that the transaction was being influenced by a “Lagos mafia.”
The Acting Chairman of the African People’s Congress, Chief Onyinye Ikeagwuonu, said this in a speech titled, “The dark forces are gathering again,” during a visit to the group’s secretariat by 30 lawyers operating under the aegis of Lawyers in Defence of Democracy and Constitutionalism in Abuja.
Ikeagwuonu alleged that democracy and rule of law in Nigeria had been ambushed, stating that INEC had no reason not to register the group after the stipulated 30 days since it had satisfied all its requirements.
“We are however constrained to draw your attention to the gathering of dark forces against a legitimate process. Our democracy, rule of law and the credibility of our electoral process stands at a crossroads. Conspirators and dark forces have infiltrated INEC; we wish to alert Nigerians to an ugly development, a black market transaction going on in INEC which if not checked immediately, may murder the rule of law and democracy in Nigeria.
“Information at our disposal shows manipulative tinkering and leakage of official documentations concerning the ongoing registration process of the African People’s Congress.”
Ikeagwuonu said the group’s leaders were particularly concerned about the activities “going on in the Legal Department of INEC” where a certain group of senior members of staff are “hell bent on using manipulative and tampered documentation to deny APC registration.”
He said African People’s Congress would not sit back and “watch these dark forces in INEC acting under the influence of a Lagos Mafia to deny APC its constitutional right to registration.”
Ikeagwuonu also berated Lagos-based civil society activists for their comments since his group unveiled its constitution, logo and manifesto.
Leader of the lawyers, Mr. Kelvin Okoro, said LIDC was “ready to render free legal services to African People’s Congress in the interest of democracy in Nigeria.”
He said, “We singled out the African People’s Congress case because it is a litmus test for democracy in Nigeria. African People’s Congress has fulfilled all legal requirements as stipulated in Section 222 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and Section 78 of the Electoral Act.
“As such, they should be given the legal power to operate as a political party, notwithstanding whose onus is affected and we expect INEC to do what the law expects them to do. We are not trying to pre-empt INEC but we are saying that in the event that INEC fails to do what the law expects them to do, our services would be given pro bono (free).”
But when contacted, INEC’s Director of Information, Mr. Emmanuel Umenger, said the commission does not carry out investigation on the pages of newspapers.
He said, “If there is any allegation, it has not come to us yet. If it comes to us, we will investigate and come out with the result of our investigation. We don’t respond to issues based on hearsay. If the people who made the allegation have facts that such a thing was happening, they should present them to us we will know how to investigate them.
“We don’t investigate allegations that are made on the pages of newspapers. If they have an allegation, they should write to us about certain things that have gone wrong and we will investigate and at the end of investigation, we will have something to say.”