Speaking on a live audience participation Radio Nigeria Hausa programme Hanu Dayawa, monitored in Kaduna yesterday, Jega said the All Progressive Congress (APC) just recently officially notified the commission that it intended to merge some opposition parties into one.
Said Jega: “This issue has generated controversy in the past few weeks. Firstly, the truth is that no political party wrote to notify us that it is planning to merge with some other political parties until the past five days or so.
“Therefore it not true that we were notified. The issue became serious when one group came out to seek for registration and I guess that was what made them to write and notify us. But that is not the issue. The main issue is that there are guidelines for registered political parties who want to merge to become a new party. There are also guidelines for individuals or groups who want to form a political party for registration”.
The INEC boss further clarified the process for registering new political parties and registered political parties wanting to merge.
According to him, the political party in the merger must have held a convention and “after their conventions, they are expected to write and request INEC to withdraw their former registration and say they want to join a new party. In spite of all the controversies, none of these political parties who want to merge has held their convention” Jega stated.
“We only read in the newspapers that they have the intention of merging and nobody wrote us until about five or six days ago. If anybody wants to register a political party, you are expected to tell INEC of your intention by saying that you want to register a party with so and so name and you want to know the procedure for doing so.
“Only one group came. The group asked one lawyer to write INEC saying they wanted to form a political party with a particular name and they wanted to know the rules and procedures for registration as a political party.
“If this other group has done so, we would have replied them and tell them the rules and the procedures they are supposed to follow to be registered. So, the issue of whether we have collected the name of this other group and whether we have agreed to register them does not even arise because we just replied to their letter by telling them the procedure.
“While this was going on, some people started making noise saying that they wanted to merge with so, so name. Some of them were even saying that we have registered the other group with that name. It is not done like that.
“People are just making noise over the name which is in the market while we have not even gotten to that stage. While all these noise were going on, another group came up seeking for registration with the same name.
“We have rules and guidelines for all this and we are determined to follow the rules to avoid any confusion. But we have not reached a stage where we can say a group has been registered with so, so name. So all these noise is just part of our politics in Nigeria”.