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Coalition Merger: ANPP Faults Transition Arrangements

03 Apr 2013

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Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu , ANPP Chairman

To hold convention in May to present merger plan

Onyebuchi Ezigbo 

The All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) has disagreed with some of the proposed modalities for constituting a transitional party structure that would usher in the All Progressives Congress (APC).

ANPP's National Working Committee (NWC), which vetted the draft constitution and manifesto of the merging parties at the end of its deliberation last week, resolved to seek a change in the use of National Assembly seats as a basis for sharing party offices under the proposed transitional structure of the APC.

The draft constitution of APC provides for a six-month transitional party structure, which will come into force upon the registration of the new party or 90 days before any election in which APC is fielding candidates.

In the constitution, which was circulated among the constituent opposition parties for consideration, the sharing of transitional offices at the national level will be based on the strength of each party at the last National Assembly elections.

Similarly, the filling of party posts at the state, local and ward levels will be based on the performance of the parties at the last election into the state Houses of Assembly.
But after days of brainstorming on the proposed APC constitution and manifesto by the NWC of ANPP, the members opposed the use of National Assembly membership as a yardstick for determining party offices in the merging coalition.

THISDAY gathered from a source that the party believes that the number of governors each party controls should be used instead to share party offices.
The party feels that using the National Assembly membership will put it at a disadvantage and would not reflect its real strength as a party which controls the three states of Zamfara, Yobe and Borno.

According to the source, ANPP leaders reasoned that since the merger committees of the constituent parties have relied on the APC governors to push through a number of issues, it would be preferable to use the same organ as the basis for resolving the sharing formula of the transitional party structures.
The position of the party will be considered at the enlarged body of the joint merger committees as it resumes sitting this week.

It was also learnt that the ANPP leadership is proposing to hold a national convention in May where it would present the merger plan for the party’s formal endorsement.
While speaking to journalists shortly after the meeting of the ANPP Board of Trustees (BoT) in Abuja, the BoT Chairman, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, had said even though the party was going on with the merger talks, it would be too early to determine if the talks had been satisfactory.
He said the term “satisfaction” is relative and unless the process is completed it would be difficult to say whether it was satisfactory or not.
Sheriff said the BoT at the end of the meeting resolved to still support the merger talks between it and other members of the opposition coalition.
“The party has decided that its merger committee should continue with discussions for the merger of opposition parties.

“We have agreed that the talks should go on until the consummation of the merger,” he said.
Meanwhile, the leadership of ANPP has viewed the ongoing tussle in the House of Representatives over the non-swearing-in of Dr. Tony Nwonye, eight months after he was given a Certificate of Return by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) with concern.

Nwonye was declared the valid winner of the 2011 poll to represent the Anambra East/West Federal Constituency by the Federal High Court, Awka, on July 13, 2012 and in obedience to the judicial directive, INEC had recognised his victory.
In so doing, Nwonye was recognised as the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) candidate for the election instead of Chief Ameke Chriscato Ikechukwu. 
However, Ikechukwu had filed a motion for a stay of execution at the Court of Appeal, which on February 27, 2013, struck out the application for a stay.

ANPP National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Emmanuel Eneukwu said the party was concerned because the row that the House of Representatives had raised for failing to swear in Nwonye was distracting the lower chamber in its daily legislative duties.

“The ANPP, under the leadership of Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, has suggested to the nation that the Electoral Law should be amended to bring about a situation where after elections all matters concerning electoral litigation and court cases would have been solved and concluded before swearing-in.

“We take this stand in a bid to ensure that our dear nation achieves free and fair elections; we envisage that this will stop all the bad blood and unnecessary advantage endowed on the incumbent as they are predisposed to use the resources and power of government to execute their electoral litigation thereby provoking strife in the political space.

“We wish to point out that our aim is to lead the nation away from politics of personality to issues-based and ideas-driven politics as is obtained in many developed democracies that we envy today,” he said.
The party therefore called on the leadership of the House to employ tact, as well as abide by the rule of law, in tackling this legal tussle between Nwonye and Ikechukwu.

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