Tag: Election

APC, PDP AND LP Gubernatorial Candidates Call for Cancellation of Anambra Gubernatorial Polls

The three governorship candidates of PDP, APC and LP, Tony Nwoye, Chris Ngige and Ifeanyi Ubah vowed on Saturday November 16, 2013 night to reject whatever result that would be announced by INEC from Saturday and proposed Sunday gubernatorial elections in Anambra State, Nigeria.

At a joint news conference addressed at 8:00 p.m. at Finotel Hotel, Awka, Senator Ngige presented the official position of the three contestants on the election. The three candidates had earlier in the day expressed their dissatisfaction with the conduct of the election.

Senator Chris Ngige said: “Our stand is that Saturday election was characterized by fraud, malpractices and massive irregularities and we call on INEC to put in place another process to conduct a fresh election to enable the people of Anambra elect their governor that will take over from the present governor on March 17 next year. The irregularities clearly noticed included the omission of the names of many voters in the registers presented for the election in the over 4,000 polling units.”

Continuing, Senator Ngige said: “We were assured that the process will be free and fair during the stake holder’s meeting with the INEC Chairman, Prof Attahiru Jega, but little did we know that they had planned to disenfranchise many of our supporters by deleting their names from the register everywhere in the local government areas. It was so massive and we hereby reject the voters registers used for this election. We were assured by the INEC chairman that the electoral process would be transparent but we experienced was the contrary.”

INEC Declares Anambra Guber Poll Inconclusive

THE Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) has declared Saturday’s governorship election in Anambra State inconclusive. To this end, a supplementary election is to held in the state before a winner is eventually declared.

The Returning Officer , James Okueke, who released results for the 21 councils of the state, said the front runner and candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Willy Obiano could not be pronounced outright winner as the margin between him the first runner-up, Tony Nwoye of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was less than the total number of registered voters in the areas where voting never took place on Saturday.

According to available results, APGA polled 174,710 votes, PDP has 94,956 votes, APC 92,300 votes and Labour Party 37,446 votes to emerge first, second, third and fourth positions in that order. According to Okueke, a total of 429,554 votes were cast, out of which 113,013 ballots were rejected, noting that the margin between the APGA and PDP candidates was 79,774 votes, thereby making it impossible for anyone to be declared winner at this stage pending when supplementary election holds in the affected wards and units across the state .

Meanwhile, Ubah (LP), Ngige (APC) and Nwoye (PDP) have reiterated calls for the outright cancellation of the entire exercise, alleging gross electoral irregularities and inducement of voters on the election day. They are also asking for the sack of the state’s Resident Electoral Commissioner, Prof. Chukwuemeka Onukaogu.

You Do Not Need Court Order to cancel Anambra Polls – APC Tells INEC Chairman Jega

Meanwhile, the Interim National Publicity Secretary of APC, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, reminded INEC Chairman, Attahiru Jega, that about 1.3 million of the 1.7 million registered voters in Anambra were unable to exercise their franchise and could not vote because of the late arrival or non-delivery of voting materials. “In announcing the cancellation of the National Assembly election in 2011, INEC Chairman Attahiru Jega said, among others, that it was to ‘maintain the integrity of the elections and retain effective overall control of the process,” Lai Mohammed said. APC said the situation in Anambra last Saturday was even more serious because in addition to the fact that voting materials were either late or not delivered at all, most voters were disenfranchised by an INEC official who apparently tampered with the 2011 voters’ register for the state. Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is therefore wrong to say that only the courts can order the cancellation of last Saturday’s governorship election in Anambra State

“Therefore, there are more compelling reasons now to cancel the Anambra governorship election than what led to the cancellation and rescheduling of the National Assembly election in 2011.” It also said since the integrity of the 2011 voters’ register has been compromised by tampering, that register can no longer be relied upon by INEC to organise any election in Nigeria. “The emerging allegations are very serious. First, the voters’ register for Anambra has been allegedly tampered with by an INEC official to disenfranchise a huge number of voters, to such an extent that only 451,826 voters were accredited out of the 1,763,751 registered voters in Anambra State.

“Secondly, the disenfranchisement started from the data capturing stage, when the machine was apparently manipulated not to capture those whose names start with ‘O’ or ‘U’ and that is a whole lot of people. Against this background, it is obvious to all fair-minded people, that INEC ‘s computer data-base must have been fraudulently, irreparably and totally adulterated such that no credible voters’ register can anymore be produced from the 2011 voters’ registration data.” APC therefore calls for not just for the cancellation of the Anambra governorship election, but also insists that a fresh election cannot and must not be conducted on the basis of the 2011 voters’ register.

APC also calls on Prof. Jega not to withhold the names of the main saboteurs in Saturday’s Anambra Gubernatorial poll and to also investigate the level to which the voters’ register has been compromised, fish out all those involved, find out who their sponsors are and make all of them to face justice.

Onu: PDP Should Prepare to be in Opposition in 2015

Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, National Chairman of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), on Saturday, May 11, 2013 as party members during the ANPP dissolution convention in Gusau, Zamfara State unanimously resolved to endorse the ongoing merger with the two major political parties in the country, stressed that time has come for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to start preparing to be in opposition come 2015. He stated that the Merger Party, All Progressives Congress (APC) came at the right time to rescue the country from imminent collapse and incessant bomb blasts and violence.

Over 6,000 delegates from the thirty six states and Abuja, who are members of the All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, converged in Gusau, the capital of Zamfara State, Saturday, May 11, 2013 to unanimously approve the recommendation of its merger committee, to merge with the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN; and the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC; to form a mega party, the All Progressives Congress, APC. The motion for the merger was moved by Suleiman Argungu, former Deputy Governor of Kebbi State. It was seconded by the party’s chairman in Cross Rivers State, Martins Bisson. The party’s national legal adviser, Salisu Fagge, who moderated the session thereafter asked the delegates to raise their hands if they agree to the motion moved by Mr. Argungu. The motion was unanimously passed.

The national chairman of the party, Ogbonnaya Onu, in his speech, said the National Working Committee under his leadership restored the party’s image in the eyes of Nigerians. He stated that when the present party administration took over two and a half years ago, many had difficulty, distinguishing ANPP from the ruling party PDP but now however, the ANPP has a distinct image as an independent political party full of promise

Mallam Ibrahim Shekerau, ANPP 2011 Presidential Candidate
Mallam Ibrahim Shekerau, ANPP 2011 Presidential Candidate

while promoting strong internal democracy. Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu also said the 14 years of PDP rule has brought nothing but unnecessary killings: “Nigeria at the moment knows no peace, yet we are not at war. People go to Churches and Mosque, unsure if they will return alive, most families cannot provide lunch and dinner, and many children go to bed on empty stomach.” Despite Nigeria being rich, most Nigerians are poor.

Dr Ogbonnaya Onu reiterated that politics without opposition is in vain and is like business without competitors. Opposition is necessary for a healthy and enduring democracy in Nigeria. He said that imposing one political party on the citizens of a country often degenerates and leads to disaster as has been the case and the sad experience of some Arab nations and other countries facing internal crises and social disasters resulting from denial of transparency and democratic justice.  “We as a nation,” he insisted, “agree to strand firm for a change from the existing reign of confusion, injustice, selfishness and focus-less leadership of the ruling party.” A total of 6,054 delegates from the 36 states of the federation and Abuja attended the event at the Zamfara Trade Fair complex.

Participants at the ANPP dissolution Convention
Participants at the ANPP dissolution Convention




by Dr. S. Okechukwu Mezu

      In the words of C. P. Scott of The Guardian [UK],”Comment is free, but facts are sacred.”  The facts about the formation of the proposed merger of political parties in Nigeria “All Progressives Congress” are sacred and known to every Nigerian.

1)    In an article entitled “APC: The battle is set,” Emmanuel Aziken, February 8, 2013 spoke about the unveiling of APC, “the special purpose vehicle with which the country’s major opposition parties hope to contest the political space with the dominant Peoples Democratic Party.” The parties in question are the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and a section of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA).

2)     Thereafter, the APC was unveiled by Chief Tom Ikimi in a widely publicized press briefing on February 6, 2013 that captured the attention of the whole country. APC announced plans to formalize the merger with the Independent National Electoral Commission in accordance with Section 84 of the electoral act which stipulates guidelines for the merger of political parties:

 “Any two or more registered political parties may merge on approval by the commission following a formal request presented to the commission by the political parties for that purpose.

“(2) Political Parties intending to merge shall each give to the Commission 90 days notice of their intention to do so before a general election.

“(3) The written request for merger shall be sent to the Chairman of the Commission and shall be signed jointly by the national chairman, secretary and treasurer for the time being of the different political parties proposing the merger and shall be accompanied by:-

(a) a special resolution passed by the national convention of each of the political parties proposing to merge, approving the merger;

(b) the proposed full name and acronym, constitution, manifesto, symbol or logo of the party together with the addresses of the national office of the party resulting from the merger; and

(c) evidence of payment of administrative costs of N100,000 or as may be fixed from time to time by an Act of the National Assembly.

“(4) On receipt of the request for merger of political parties, the commission shall consider the request; and if the parties have fulfilled the requirements of the constitution and this Act, approve the proposed merger and communicate its decision to the parties concerned before the expiration of thirty (30) days from the date of the receipt of the formal request.

“PROVIDED that if the commission fails to communicate its decision within 30 days the merger shall be deemed to be effective.

“(5) Where the request for the proposed merger is approved, the commission shall forthwith withdraw and cancel the certificates of registration of all the political parties opting for the merger and substitute therefore, a single certificate of registration in the name of the party resulting from the merger.

“(6) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (2) of this section no merger of Political Parties received by the commission less than 90 days before any general election in the country shall be considered by the commission.”

The signatories were Ikimi (ACN), ex-Governor Ibrahim Shekarau (Chairman, Merger Committee, ANPP), Senator Annie Okonkwo (representative of APGA) and ex-Deputy Governor Garba Mohammed Gadi (Chairman, Merger Committee of CPC).

Babatunde Fashola (Lagos), Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Rauf Aregbesola (Osun), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo), Abdul-Aziz Yari (Zamfara), Kashim Shettima (Borno), Senator Dejare Alkali representing Ibrahim Gaidam (Yobe), Tanko al Makura (Nasarawa), and Rochas Okorocha (Imo).

APC Governors

3)     Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, National Chairman of PDP, the governing party, took note of the proposed alliance and stated that PDP would not be rattled by its formation. Chief Olisa Metuh of the PDP called on the new party to engage the administration and the PDP on ideals and issues of governance.

4)     The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) equally took note of the proposed merger of the parties to form APC stating that they could only transform into APC after fulfilling all the conditions in Section 84 of the Electoral Act including holding separate national conventions to ratify their decision to merge.

“As far as INEC is concerned, we have only noted the new aspiration of the four parties. We have not received any letter on the merger. The parties know what is involved in a merger. That is why they are yet to communicate INEC. One thing is clear, the Electoral Act gives room for merger of parties after all procedures have been complied with. It is left to the parties to take advantage of the law. So, the question of illegality does not arise yet. The final decision to approve the merger or not is solely that of INEC.” The Nation, Saturday, 9 February 2013.

From left: Chris Ngige, Kabiru Gaya; George Mughalu; CPC Merger committee chairman, Garba Gadi; Chairman Merger committee,Tom Ikimi; Chairman, ANPP Merger Committee,  Ibrahim Shekarau; Segun Osaba and Ahmed Yerima during the unveiling of the new party name in Abuja Wednesday. Courtesy Vanguardngr.com
From left: Chris Ngige, Kabiru Gaya; George Mughalu; CPC Merger committee chairman, Garba Gadi; Chairman Merger committee,Tom Ikimi; Chairman, ANPP Merger Committee, Ibrahim Shekarau; Segun Osaba and Ahmed Yerima during the unveiling of the new party name in Abuja. Courtesy Vanguardngr.com

5)     On Tuesday, March 12, 2013, the nation woke up to hear that a new party African Peoples Congress, was in the process of filing its papers for registration as a political party in Nigeria with the same acronym APC already staked by All Progressives Congress.

6)     If quoted correctly, Chief Olisa Agbakoba, SAN was not quite correct when he said “It is a bit disappointing that the new opposition party overlooked a very important issue of securing registration of its name. In any enterprise that you embark on, the first thing is to secure your trade name…. So INEC is not wrong to receive a name that sounds like that of APC and because you cannot have two APCs, the opposition will obviously have to look for a fresh name, unless, of course, the first party that registered is not going to pursue its registration.”  INEC definitely is not wrong to receive “a name that sounds like that of APC” but INEC would be morally and legally wrong to “register” another party with the acronym “APC.” Here are the reasons.

7)     There is statutory law (equitable, or civil) embodying legislative enactments and there is common law based on societal customs as recognized and enforced by judgments of the courts. Statutes, regulations and the common law prohibit any fraudulent, deceptive or dishonest trade practice. Unfair competition also prohibits the appropriation by a competitor of the economic and intellectual creations of, and the goodwill and reputation generated by, another business. Such unfair competition includes the infringement of copyrights, trademarks, patents, trade names and trade secrets.

8)     All Progressives Congress by announcing the proposed formation of the merger, presenting its acronym, articulating its motto and purpose and publicly displaying its logo has created its identity and announced it to every Nigerian and to the world.  The name is unique, the logo distinctive and non-generic. It has met all the conditions precedent to merit protection from infringement. Protection, legally is provided through registration of the trade name and registration of the trade mark. In the United States of America infringement claims may be brought at the federal level under the Lanham Trade Act (15 U.S.C.A. §§ 1051 et seq.) and at the state level additionally under common law doctrines and intellectual property statutes. Under common law, All Progressives Congress recognizable acronym and distinctive logo confer on it legal protection even absent any formal registration with the Corporate Affairs Commission or the Registrar of Trade Marks. As such any appropriation of the name, logo or trade mark constitutes theft even in the strictest construction of the word. All Progressives Congress is entitled to the exclusive use and enjoyment of the acronym (APC) and the logo as designed.

9)     Copyright and patent laws generally give individuals and corporations exclusive rights to works, ideas, concepts they create especially as in the case of All Progressives Congress after days and months of planning and brainstorming by notable individuals spread across the country which included three major political parties and a faction of APGA, ten state Governors and representatives of the people on the state and federal levels. It is therefore tortious for any individual to use or appropriate the acronym “APC” or its likeness after it had been extensively advertized nationally by its creator All Progressives Congress. It is equivalent to impersonation, the appropriation or misappropriation of the name, acronym, image and likeness of an individual whether personal or corporate. Such impersonation is of course justiciable.

10) The case of Data Concepts, Inc. v. Digital Consulting, Inc. in the United States shows that trademark infringement is a mixed question of fact and law and the first for instance to register a trade name in contention may not be able to keep its use. In the USA, Brookfield Communications v. West Coast Entertainment Corp. shows that even “registration does not in itself constitute ‘use’ for purpose of acquiring trademark priority.” The determinant law of course is who has a prior or superior right to the mark or acronym. All Progressives Congress began using the acronym (APC) on February 6, 2013. All other claimants or pseudo-claimants (African Peoples Congress (APC) and All Patriotic Citizens (APC) or any other variant, born or unborn is a junior claimant to the acronym and cannot or should not displace All Progressives Congress as the prime and senior owner of the acronym having first publicized its ownership of the acronym and the pseudo-claimants, as well as INEC and other Nigerian publicly and openly had knowledge of that ownership through open disclosure to friend and foe of that fact.

11) Therefore any attempted use of that acronym (APC) by any competing organization constitutes an infringement in the same political market place called Nigeria. By common law, All Progressives Congress has the right to use the acronym “APC” conferred on it by priority of use and by implication the right to register it when it has met the required conditions with INEC. For instance, the Lanham Act in the United States determines who has priority rights in a mark from establishing who was the first to use it to identify his or her goods.

12) A logical inclination would be for All Progressives Congress to go to court and obtain an injunction restraining INEC from registering any party with the acronym “APC” because of the priority of its use and the superiority of its claim. What happens if the case becomes mired in the landmines of Nigerian courts from the High Court through the Appellate levels to the Supreme Court? All Progressives Congress should quietly follow the constitution, hold its convention and present its application for merger formally to Independent National Electoral Commission. INEC for once will do the right thing for the progress and enthronement of democracy in Nigeria. INEC is now facing the International High Court of Justice.

Dr. S. Okechukwu Mezu
Baltimore, Maryland USA