Count APGA Out Of Merger Talks – Okwenna National leadership of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) yesterday disowned its participation in the purported merger of some opposition political parties, stressing that the issue of merger of political parties is a very serious matter that needs adequate consultation. In a statement by Dr. Ifedi Okwenna, national secretary of the party, the party said it did not permit the Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha to part of any merger of political parties. Ten Governors from the opposition political parties had Tuesday, emerged from a private meeting in Lagos endorsing a merger of the opposition political parties ahead of 2015 general elections. APGA in the statement disclosed that “while we are not against the establishment of another arm of the Governors Forum or Governors making statements after a private meeting, however, we believe that the issue of merger of political parties is a very serious matter that needs adequate consultation before a Governor participates and makes public statement. “The secretariat has contacted Governor Peter Obi also of our party on his stand to the meeting, but he categorically denied been invited or having anything to do with the meeting in Lagos. “While we are not qualified to speak for other political parties and their Governors, we do categorically state that the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA)has never participated in any merger talk with any other political party before now and is therefore not in the merger. “We were never consulted by anybody before such statement of our involvement was issued. We recall that a National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the Party was held in July 2012 and various stakeholder’s meetings have equally been held in the last one year. In all these meetings, the issue of merger with other political parties were never discussed. “For one of our Governors to participate in a meeting where the merger of opposition parties was “endorsed” is ridiculous and unfortunate. However we,” Okwenna stressed. He pointed out that merger talks are such that political parties expect to lose their identities, and therefore “is not an ad hoc arrangement. “According to our constitution, the decision to initiate such discussion is vested in the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Party and ratified by the National Convention. It is not an executive action, but purely a party matter. “Even Section 84(3) of Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) expects that such issue must come through a special resolution passed by the National Convention of each of the political parties proposing the merger and the written resolutions of each of these parties communicated to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) through a letter jointly signed by the National Chairman, National Secretary and the National Treasurer of each of the merging parties. “Recall that it was the unauthorized clandestine attendance at this merger meetings by the suspended National Chairman and National Secretary of the Party, Chief Victor Umeh and Alhaji Sani Shinkafi that form part of the 13-point allegation that let to their suspension. Though they later denied ever attending such meetings, the unfolding events have shown their level of integrity and trustworthiness. “For the avoidance of doubt, we wish to reiterate that the issue of merger with other political parties is not in the agenda of All Progressives Grand Alliance for now. “Our concern at the moment is to restructure, nurture and build a strong APGA capable of winning elections across the states of Nigeria. Our doors are now wide open and currently there are mass influx of people into our Party. “APGA is currently welcoming most members of the deregistered political parties as well as factions of some political parties all in our effort to build a strong political party and are therefore not ready to be distracted. “We call on all party members and the general public to disregard the misleading inclusion of our party in the on-going merger talk of opposition parties as that is not in the agenda of the party for now,” he stressed.