By Emmanuel Mogbede
Abuja – The All Progressive Congress (APC) on Monday said it would drag leaders and members of Reformed All Progressives Congress (R-APC) to court on allegation of impersonation.
National Legal Adviser of the party, Mr Babatunde Ogala, made this known in a statement in Abuja while reacting to the formation of the group, headed by a top member of APC, Alhaji Buba Galadima.
Ogala described Galadima’s address at the formation of R-APC as reminiscent of the televised military address issued after a successful execution of a coup d’etat, which Nigerians had become used to before the advent of democracy.
He said that other persons in the splinter group had gone to town seeking to validate their conduct.
He said that the development necessitated the APC as the ruling party responsible for the protection of the country’s democracy, to clarify on the legal import of the action of the R-APC.
Ogala, however, said that the situation was well within the party’s control and assured that the rule of law must take its natural course on the matter.
“The sum total of Galadima’s press release can be captured under three major issues and we will address each of them subsequently.’’
The R-APC, which emerged out of APC on Wednesday, already has a National Working Committee, state executive committees and executive committees in the 774 local government areas across the country.
The legal adviser noted that Galadima had continued to perpetuate falsehood for the purpose of gaining either pecuniary or other benefits, adding that he was guilty of fraudulent misrepresentation.
“Without a doubt, the declaration of Galadima, if left unchecked, is capable of leading to public nuisance and a breach of peace across the country.
“Our loyal members are already agitated by the incendiary action of this group which runs counter to the beliefs, principles and creed of the APC,” he said.
He noted that the R-APC was guilty of breach of trademark and infringement of copy right, saying that the APC trusted that relevant authorities would deal with the criminal conduct of the group.
Ogala said that as the action touched on the APC brand, it was forced to quickly take steps to protect it from being subjected to erosion by the thoughtless actions of the group.
“As Nigerians are aware, the coinage APC is both a mark and a copy right capable of being protected under the common law principles of passing off as well as under the extant provision of the Copyright’s Act.
“Nigerians can only imagine what it would be like if we were to wake up one morning to a bank claiming to be Reformed First Bank Plc or a construction company claiming to be Reformed Julius Berger Plc,’’ he said.
He stressed that this would be viewed as a blatant assault on the brand for which both civil and criminal recourse could be sought.
Ogala maintained that the APC was a brand owned by its teeming members who had invested in the National Executive Committee and its other organs the power to protect the brand from abuse and erosion.
He said “because we practice a multi-party democratic system, the APC could, however, not stop Galadima from forming his own political party if he so desires.’’.
He, however, stated that the party would not allow Galadima to do so, using its brand.
“For the infringement so far committed by Galadima and the odium he has brought upon the APC brand, we will be seeking civil redress against his person and that of his group.
“With respect to the criminal aspect of his conduct, we will be notifying the appropriate authorities to do the needful,’’ the legal adviser said.
He maintained that the APC- led Federal Government was poised to cleanse the political process of people who had become “accustomed to brigandage and being unruly”.