Nigeria’s newly-registered main opposition party, All Progressives Congress (APC), has described its emergence as the dawn of a new era for Africa’s most populous nation.
‘With the approval of our merger by INEC (Independent National Electoral Commission) and the emergence of APC, today marks the beginning of a new dawn for our country and her long-suffering people,’ the party’s interim spokesman, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said in a statement made available to PANA here Wednesday.
Basking in the euphoria of the party’s registration, he added: ‘We thank Nigerians both here and in the Diaspora for standing by us. We thank the media for their fairness, and we commend INEC for doing the right thing and for not succumbing to pressures from phantom political associations that sought to force it to circumvent the law.’
The party said its emergence meant that Nigerians now have an alternative to the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ‘that has taken the people for a bad ride in the past 14 years’.
It also described its registration as ‘a victory for Nigeria and for democracy’.
‘The journey has been long and tortuous. All sorts of obstacles were thrown into our path by anti-democratic forces, but we have been painstaking in our quest for a formidable platform that will allow our country, Nigeria, to achieve her full potentials and join the league of respectable nations.
‘We promise not to disappoint Nigerians who have reposed much confidence in us,’ APC said.
PANA reports that the APC, which is a merger of three opposition political parties – Action Congress of Nigeria, All Nigeria Peoples Party and the Congress for Progressive Change – is now the country’s main opposition party and the country’s second largest party after the PDP.
In announcing the registration earlier, the electoral body said: “On considering the application, the Commission found that the applicant-parties have met all statutory requirements for the merger, and has accordingly granted their request.
“Consequently, the Commission has approved the withdrawal of the individual certificates of the applicant-parties, and the issuance of a single certificate to the All Progressives Congress.”
The emergency of the new party sets the stage for an interesting contest in 2015, when Africa’s largest democracy will hold its next general elections.