PPC flays INEC over refusal to register it
Commission spokesman says allegation will be looked into
One of the political parties that sought registration but was denied during the build-up to the 2015 general elections, Providence People’s Congress (PPC), has alleged that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) deliberately refused to register it despite paying the required registration fees of N1 million twice.
The party claimed that this was irrespective of the fact that it met all the necessary requirements for it to be registered as a political party.
Although, the party said it has commenced another process of registration ahead of the 2019 elections, it disclosed its intention of carrying along the media, should the commission again resolve to “its old tactics of frustrating several interested groups from registering as a party.”
Speaking during a visit to The Guardian yesterday, the National Chairman of PPC, Mr. Benson Adetona, who led a seven-man team, disclosed that the group was denied registration during the tenure of the immediate past Chairman of INEC, Professor Attahiru Jega. He said the party wished to inform Nigerians the hurdles it went through with INEC between 2012 and 2014 when it commenced the process to register as a political party but was eventually denied, “having been compelled to pay N2 million registration fees.”
Narrating the group’s ordeal, Adetona said, “It was unfortunate that millions of Nigerians, who are not engaged in governance are been suppressed and made to bear the direct impact of wrong government policies on daily basis, whereas the few people at the helm of affairs continued to block the process that could have encouraged men of discipline and integrity to come on board to salvage the situation.”
According to him, “We started mobilising people since 2012 and by April 2013 we approached INEC almost at the same time the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) did, but we didn’t hear anything from the commission several months after.
“We carried out our private investigations on why INEC failed to reach out to us and to our surprise, INEC claimed it has sent a notice to us some months back and it wasn’t her fault we didn’t see it. The commission, therefore, insisted it is not going to deal with us again.
“Having realised that INEC may likely adhere to its stand, we re-approached it and it gave us Form A1. We filled the form and returned in November 2013 but after the required 30 days and nothing was forthcoming, it was assumed, according to what the law stipulates, that our party had been registered.”
“60 days after, we approached the commission but surprisingly it started giving us constitutional reasons why we are not going to be registered as a party unless we pay another registration fee. Of course we had no choice than to adhere, otherwise if we had resolved to take a legal option the process would be long and the election was fast approaching.
“We did pay the fee again and we were called for verification in Abuja only to discover that some names have been removed from the list we sent to INEC. At that point there was nothing we could do.
“As we speak our lawyer is discussing with INEC but we have opted for media involvement. The aims and objectives of doing this is to ensure that the authorities, which has always been using INEC to deny Nigerians a viable platform that can usher in men of integrity to participate in the nation’s polity, are checkmated.”
He also disclosed that the reason the group was starting early this time is to enable the use of legal option if INEC tried to play contrary to the rules.
On how the party has been sustaining its members, the national chairman said, “We rely on contributions of minimum of N50 and any interested member who wanted to contest will obtain a form for one naira. We are doing this to move away from the concept of subjecting interested aspirants for political offices to spend millions and billions of money before contesting. That is one of the reason corruption remain endemic in our polity till date.”
On how the party intends to dislodge the powerful and formidable parties like the APC and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) if it is eventually registered, Adetona said the aim was not to dislodge any party. “our aim is to respond to what we hear God saying, which is time for the country to fulfill its destiny. We are coming to do things differently from the ways it has been done over the years,” he added.
Meanwhile, when the INEC Spokesman, Mr. Rotimi Lawrence Oyekanmi, who was in Ondo State in preparations for next Saturday’s governorship election, was contacted on the issue, he promised the commission would look into the matter as soon as possible and react appropriately.