Although the ongoing registration and revalidation exercise of the ruling All Progressives Party has been largely successful in many states, some notable members of the party have described the exercise as a waste of resources, while some others are still wondering who will benefit from this unnecessary exercise.
By Anthony Isibor
WHILE we watch the current APC revalidation exercise and wonder why there are many issues of irregularities, accusations, and counter-accusations of disenfranchisement in many states by party stakeholders and members alike, there seem to be an obvious fall out among brothers as the drum of disintegration is clearly beating again. One cannot help but ask these very pertinent questions – Who will benefit from this exercise, and Who will not?
The APC may just be experiencing a case of having too many captains in one boat or like in a military junta, undergoing a subtly laid out process of a bloodless coup.
The revalidation exercise, which is intended to determine the membership status of the party and give room for interested non-members to register, may have been turned into a ‘de-registering exercise, an adventure that has divided the party into two major power blocks. Those in President Muhammadu Buhari’s camp and those in Bola Tinubu’s camp.
The stakeholders of the party have continued to express their views on this exercise. While some consider it as an opportunity for power-hungry members to take over the party structure within their wards in preparation for the 2023 general elections, some see it as just an exercise backed by the constitution of the party, while others believe that it a battle between Tinubu and Buhari’s blocks. Whichever way one sees it, this could either be the beginning of the party’s destruction as predicted by Rochas Okorocha, the former governor of Imo state, or the beginning of a new, stronger, wider, and more united party.
Some party leaders in the west have expressed displeasure over the revalidation exercise of the party and questioned the rationale behind it.
In the South West for example, Bola Tinubu, Bisi Akanke, former governor of Osun state and a pioneer member of the APC, and Adams Oshiomole, former National Chairman of the APC all agreed that the exercise was uncalled for.
According to Adams Oshiomole, the party does not belong to any individual or any group of individuals that its activities should be decided by them.
”APC is governed by a constitution and not by man, the constitution only provides for registration and I registered as a member of the APC in 2014 under Bisi Akande, as the interim national chairman,’’ he said.
“There is nothing in the APC constitution that says a member shall revalidate or renew its membership once registered when you joined the party and you have not decamped, you are a member. So revalidation is strange to our constitution.
“I have only done this because I want peace to reign, but in doing this, we have to be careful not to create a constitutional breach.
“History didn’t just begin today, if we don’t have a valid register, how did we conduct the congress in 2015 in which 16 million registered APC members voted to nominate President Muhammadu Buhari before the general election,” he said.
While reacting to the exercise, which he described as a total waste of resources, Akande said: “No population census is repeated within less than a decade and that voters are not re-registered at every election.
“I see the present APC membership registration within less than a decade after the original register as an indefensible aberration leading to certain ugly perceptions.
“The first major perception is that APC, already having a well-computerized register for an average of 100 leaders of similar ideological orientation per each of the more than 120,000 polling units across Nigeria, might be lacking comprehension and matrix of the modern-day technology.
“The APC leadership might be wasteful and unappreciative of the proper use of money in a kind of scanty economy in which Nigeria now finds itself,” he said.
According to Akande, the next national election to elect a successor to President Muhammadu Buhari would be an important test of the ongoing APC membership registration and whatever structure to be imposed on it.
Speaking in the same vein, Tinubu said that he was in support of the views expressed by Akande. “Since we have a foundation and that foundation is on, which the structure up till the present was built at the time of the registration of this party, I will not fault Akande’s position. I will not but endorse it.
“What we are doing now is a matter of addition and subtraction, free entry and free exit.
“You have joined a particular party; you have decided to leave that party. You have equal opportunity for new members to join and update the existing register of the party,” he said.
He said that he was not aware that the party’s register, which was submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, at the time of the party’s registration has been invalidated.
He said that although the APC has witnessed several congresses and exits, it has complied with the nation’s Electoral Act.
In Kwara state, Lai Mohammed, the minister of information and culture called for the outright cancellation of the exercise and accused the revalidation committee of taking side and sidelining the major stakeholders of the party, who had worked for the election of Gov. Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, of Kwara state.
“The guidelines are also clear on how registration materials are to be handed over and distributed. It says officials for the assignment are prohibited from handing over the registration forms, other materials inclusive of registration data in a manner not prescribed by the exercise to unauthorized persons, and that the materials (forms, registers, and others) are to be distributed directly to the Registration Officers and records of the distribution area to be captured and reported accordingly,” he said at a news conference in his home town.
He called on the committee to put in place a process that will ensure the conduct of a credible and fair exercise that will enjoy the support and confidence of all.
The Kwara State caretaker executive committee members loyal to the suspended state chairman, Bashir Bolarinwa, also accused the revalidation committee of sidelining them.
According to Chief Sunday Odebiyi, the Vice-Chairman of the caretaker committee, in Kwara State, “Assuming that without conceding that the chairman, Bolairnwa is suspended, are we all also suspended? Is the majority of the members of the executive committee here present also suspended? So, why did the Danboyi-led team sidestep all of us?
“If this is bad, what is happening on the field is worse. The guidelines of the registration are being severely raped across all the 1,872 units without exception,
“I can also confirm authoritatively that over 114 ward chairmen and their executives out of a total of 193 Ward Chairmen were never carried along. “So, where did they get the officials? It is possible that the Senator John Danboyi-led team would come all the way from Nasarawa and Edo State without consulting with the party structure here in Kwara State?” Party registration all over the world is about people, more people and lot more people.
“It is never a thing for the closet, so why should it be in secrecy if there’s no more to it? “All people of good conscience should by now know that it is not about responsible party politics, it is not about the majority,”,he said.
Delta state is not left out in the unfolding drama even though it is not among the states controlled by the APC. The process have been completely suspended by the Sylvester Imonina, the state publicity secretary of the party, after a plethora of complaints from members.
The exercise, which was scheduled to end on March 8, 2021, has now been extended to March 31, 2021. John Udoedehe, the party’s interim national secretary, said in a statement that the reason for the additional three weeks was to make up for the shortage of registration materials sent across the 36 states and to allow the accommodation of all prospective members.
The exercise, however, seems to be going on smoothly in the northern part of the country. And major party stakeholders, including Muhammad Buhari, the president of the federal republic of Nigeria, has revalidated his memberships.
The party leaders all over the country have continued to call for caution in the ongoing exercise, urging members to be patient as the revalidation is for the good of the entire party.
Speaking to newsmen recently, Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti state and chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, has argued that the revalidation exercise is an inclusive process that no one must be excluded from.
Fayemi urged state governors in APC-led states and party leaders in non-APC states to ensure that the process was carried out seamlessly in their states and make sure that members were not deregistered as that was not the essence of the whole revalidation exercise.
As the process continues in other states, some party members of the APC are still wondering who will benefit from this exercise.
-Feb 27, 2021 @ 7;49pm