By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
Less than twenty four hours after the formation of an interim leadership for Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC) in Abuja, fresh crisis has rocked the umbrella body of political parties, as some major parties distance themselves from it, raising fear of parallel interim leadership for the council.
Recall that Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had last week deregistered about seventy four political parties in accordance with the Fourth Alteration to the Constitution (Section 225A) which empowers the Commission to deregister political parties.
This action of INEC has therefore affected the leadership of IPAC, and created vacuum, hence the eighteen remaining parties are jostling over who takes what and who calls the short in the IPAC leadership.
However, speaking yesterday when Peoples Daily sought to know the status and acceptability of the interim IPAC leadership, it became apparent that relatively small political parties have taken over the leadership of the umbrella body of political parties without any consultations with the major parties.
In their respective responses to the probes by Peoples Daily, the dominant political parties, including the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Labour Party (LP), among others, dissociated themselves from the interim leadership, indicating that nobody consulted them before setting up the interim IPAC leadership.
According to the national chairman of Labour Party (LP), Abdulsam A. Salami, he said “those people are fake, we don’t have any interim IPAC leadership, those people are not serious and nobody should take them serious. Which interim IPAC leadership, we have not met to decide on any interim leadership”.
He said there are procedure to follow in putting up an interim IPAC, including handover from the past leadership sacked by INEC, after which a meeting of all the remaining political parties should be called to discuss whether to put up an interim leadership.
The Labour Party chairman insisted that nobody consulted him as a chairman of political party on the IPAC interim leadership, adding that he, with other likeminded parties will soon meet to discuss what to do in the absence of an elected IPAC leadership.
Speaking also on the setting up of an interim leadership for IPAC, the National Publicity Secretary of APC, Lanre Issa-Onilu, said his party does not know anything about the activity of IPAC to the extent of setting up any interim leadership.
While confirming that as the spokesman of the party, he did not come across anything indicating any relationship between IPAC and APC, he said no correspondent to that effect came to APC regarding the interim leadership.
In the same vein, a credible source in the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), who pleaded to be anonymous, confided in Peoples Daily that the party was not contacted and does not have any representative where the decision was taken to set up an interim IPAC leadership.
According to the source, the national chairman of the party is currently out of the country, while the national secretary is not around and is also not aware of the decision on the interim leadership.
He observed that it amounts to shooting the affected political parties and their leaders in the foot, as they have already gone to the court to challenge the decision of INEC to deregistered them, pointing out that those that put up IPAC interim leadership should have allowed the affected parties to exhausts their legal options first.
However, when contacted, the national publicity secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Kola Ologbondiya, neither picked the calls put severally to his phone, nor responded to the text message sent to him on the interim leadership of IPAC as at the time of filling this report.
Meanwhile, investigation by Peoples Daily revealed that political parties, including African Action Congress (AAC), Accord (A), Action Alliance (AA), APM, NNPP, NRM, SDP, YPP and Action Peoples Party (APP) are the parties who instituted the interim leadership.
Members of the committee were Leonard Nzenwa of African Action Alliance (AAC), Chairman; Yusuf Dantalle of the Allied Peoples Movement (APM), Secretary; Major Agbo of New Nigeria Political Party (NNPP), National Publicity.
Others were Mohammed Nalado of Accord Party (A), National Treasurer; Chinedu Obi of National Rescue Movement (NRM), National Organising/Welfare Secretary; Abdul Isiaq of Social Democratic Party (SDP), Financial Secretary; and Bishop Amakiri of Young Progressives Party (YPP), National Youth Policy Advisor.
National Chairman of the African Action Congress (AAC), Leonard Nzenwa, who was elected interim chairman of IPAC, while addressing journalists shortly after an emergency meeting of the parties said the decision to set up the Committee was necessary in order to avoid a vacuum in IPAC leadership.
“It is therefore based on the lawfulness of the action of the Commission, the desirability of the need to sanitise the electoral space that we the 18 political parties in Nigeria hereby endorse this bold step by INEC and commend it for this worthy cause.
“It is this will to implement the law despite whose ox is gored that we require for our nation building”, he concluded.
Meanwhile, before the de-registration of the 74 parties last week, IPAC was led by Peter Ameh, national chairman of the Progressives Peoples Alliance (PPA). Mr Ameh and members of his executives were elected in September 2018.
Also, efforts to get comments from Peter Ameh regarding the issue was futile as his phone number was switched off at the time of filing in the report, even text messages sent to his phone was not responded.