Seventeen political parties on Thursday agreed to coalesce into one and present a single candidate in the 2011 presidential election.

Notable among the parties that agreed to merge are All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Labour Party (LP), Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), Congress of Progressive Change (CPC), National Conscience Party (NCP) and Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) among others.

At the end of the meeting attended by representatives of all the 17 parties involved in the merger, PRP National Chairman, Balarabe Musa, called on the National Assembly to reduce the three-month timeframe for registration of voters by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to two months.

According to the group, “the reduction will allow INEC enough time to conduct proper election. If this three months is followed strictly, INEC may encounter problems; two months is just enough for every Nigerian to register”.

The group also warned that it will not subscribe to a new INEC that still parades old members of the state Resident Electoral Commissioners who superintended the flawed 2007 elections.

It said government must dispense with their services with immediate effect.

The parties said they were happy when on Wednesday, government said it was restructuring INEC; “there are certain characters there they should not work with”.

“Talking about electoral resident commissioners who manipulated the process in the past, tell me what those who conducted disputed elections are still doing in the present INEC.”

The group also observed that the existing voters register was tailored to manipulate the election in favour of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and should be not used for the coming elections.

According to spokesman of the group, who is also the National Chairman of LP, Dan Nwanyanwu, “we have already called for re-registration of voters card”.

“We cannot go into 2011 elections with that register. The new INEC chairman should do away with that register; he should not look at the register, he should not even ask where they are kept.

“All he should do is to go and get a new clean register and start registering people. It is possible, it is doable, it is easy”.

The group also said the incoming INEC boss, Attahiru Jega, on resumption of office should immediately call a meeting of all political parties to assure them of his sincerity of purpose.

However, the group debunked media reports that it has adopted Muhammadu Buhari as its presidential flagbearer, saying it is too early for them to be talking about presidential candidate.

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