JUST IN: APC postpones screening of presidential aspirants

Olusesan Laoye

Despite the fact that the All Progressives Congress (APC) is trying to mend fences and correct the past wrongs, which had existed since 2014, with the fresh registration of its members, it appears that the exercise is creating more problems as some of the members are not pleased with the process being adopted, saying that it is being done in bad faith.
The groups from Zamfara, Borno, Oyo, Lagos, Osun, argued that Mai Mala Buni led caretaker committee intended to carry out the exercise to extend its tenure beyond the end of 2020 and to undermine some members of the party and rubbished some of the leaders.
They argued that the Buni committee lacks the power to conduct the registration of members of the party, saying that it is only an elected executive of the party that has such powers to do so. Since the idea was mooted it has been generating a lot of controversies and which also led to litigation.
Many members of the party and a former APC youth leader from Abia State Kalu Agu had gone to the Federal High Court Abuja to stop the registration, saying that the body to carry it out has no power under the party’s constitution to do so.
He even queried how the Oshiomhole led executive committee was sacked and replaced with a caretaker.
Although it was claimed that Agu got an injection, restraining the Buni led committee from carrying out the exercise and that the status quo be maintained, the Buni led executive claimed that there was no such court orders.
Speaking through the National Deputy Publicity Secretary off the party Yekini Nabena, the caretaker committee argued that when they heard about the order from Justice Taiwo Taiwo “‘we sent a powerful team to the court to verify but they came back that there was nothing like that”.
Giving reasons why they had to carry out the exercise in defiance of the purported court order, the Yobe State Governor, Bruni said that President Muhammadu Buhari gave the go ahead when he was briefed on the need for the fresh registrations of members..
He further explained that it was necessary to put in place a workable structure for the continuous membership register and update with a new membership drive. He argued that because the party has no data base to identify its true members, crisis always happens, saying this was the reason why membership should be standadized.
He said that since the merger of the political parties in 2014 there has not been proper registration of members of the party and the inconclusive registration of 2017 was another bane of the party.
He said lack of true identification of members had led to loss members of the party in the states and most of the conflicts with the party were going through.
He further stated that the new lists of members does not reflect numbers of defections and those that have newly joined the party, adding that the fresh registration would strengthened the party and would help to work out sustainable structures towards the convention of the party.
According to him, he took that step of new registration because the names of those who had left the party still exist in their wards. He cited that of the former Senate President Bukola Saraki, former vice President Abubakar Atiku and host of others.
However, one of the arrow heads of those opposed to the new registration, Senator Kabiru Marafa from Zamfara State, said that the crisis in APC has not been over, especially in his state and others.
He warned Buni from complicating the issues at hand in the party, and accused him of complicity while he also warned him to stop lying that all was well in APC.
He argued that Buni”s action would further destroy the party if care was not taken because he “is full of inaccuracies”. There is also crisis in Borno over registration.
In his reaction, the Director General of the APC Governors Forum Mo’hd Lukman blasted those opposed to membership registration and update of party register, describing the development as an avenue for the “emergence of surrogate leadership”.
According to him, Article 9.4 of the APC constitution specifically provides that “a register of members shall be compiled and maintained at the Ward level and be transmitted to the Secretariat of the party at Local Government Area, which shall transmit a copy to the National Secretariat.
“When was the last time anybody was registered as an APC member in any part of the country? When was the last time any Ward in the country transmitted to any Local Government Secretariat and/or Local Government transmitted any copy to National Secretariat? Yet, our party’s constitution provides that membership records should be updated every six months.
“How can any leader even attempt to raise questions about why we should have membership registration/verification? In this age of banditry, it will appear that some of our so-called leaders are as skillful in politics as the criminal bandits ravaging our communities, towns and villages.
“We must appeal to these so-called leaders to come back to their senses. For anybody to claim our party’s membership, not even emerge as a leader, the legal standing of such a person must be beyond suspicion.
“Noting that part of the rights and privileges of members as provided in Article 9.3 of the party’s constitution include the ‘right to vote and be voted for into any of the elective positions’, it is clear that our party leaders who want to manipulate the process want to push the National Caretaker Committee into organising a Convention with perhaps rented delegates.
“In which case, the new leadership of the party to emerge out of such a process can only be surrogate leaders whose mission may simply be to ‘crown’ candidates for future elections. This has been the bane of our democracy and it is responsible for why internal democracy has eluded virtually all our parties in the country resulting in most of the avoidable leadership crisis.
Meanwhile, the PDP has said that the fresh revelation that the APC brims with “political bandits” has further confirmed why the APC has visited the nation with so much violence, power grabbing, election malpractices, human rights abuses, unbridled looting and divisive policies under the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.
The PDP said that the revelation has also further established why Nigeria can never move forward or have rest under an APC administration and why its government is bedeviled with confusion and insensitivity.
In a statement issued by the National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan said that the revelation also showcases the reasons for the complete failure of governance and command structure in every sector of the national life under the APC.
The PDP asserted that the statement credited to the Director General of PGF, Lukman that some APC leaders behave like “criminal bandits” further exposes the APC as no better than a pillaging and treasury looting gang.
Also former Elected Local Government Chairmen Association (FELGOCAS) under the APC has faulted the decision of the caretaker committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to commence fresh registration of party members.
Ibrahim Haske, national president of FELGOCAS, in a statement after a press conference of the association in Sokoto on Tuesday, alleged that the decision to commence fresh registration is an opportunity for the caretaker committee to extend its tenure in office.
According to the group, the actions of the Buni-led committee have deviated from its given mandate.
“When on June 25, 2020, an interim caretaker committee was put in a place by the national executive committee (NEC) of our party to, among others, reconcile aggrieved party members and organise a national convention to bring up new leadership to steer the ship of the party within six months, most of us grudgingly accepted the strange arrangement as a result of our profound respect for our leader, President Muhammadu Buhari,” the statement read.
“The interim committee led by Yobe state governor, Mai Mala Buni, assumed office and to our amazement, began to play the script of the “so-called cabal” in the party. Instead of uniting the various entities in the party, the committee is doing the opposite. The Edo state crisis is a case in point. The interim caretaker committee inexplicably became a lame duck unable to foster unity within the party.
“Indeed, instead of supporting the candidate of the party in the governorship election, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, the committee allegedly gave full support to the opposition PDP candidate leading to the disastrous outing of the party in the governorship election. We stand corrected!
“As if that was not enough, the committee has gone ahead with a sit-tight agenda to extend its tenure beyond December 2020 under the pretext of carrying out fresh registration of members and inability to conclude its reconciliation efforts!
“The committee has less than a month to go yet it is planning for fresh registration of members, abandoning the original mandate of the committee which is to organise a national convention.
“Our advice to the caretaker committee is to drop the idea of the registration with immediate effect.”
According to FELGOCAS, instead of registration of new members, the party should focus on updating its records and look into organising a national convention as soon as possible.
Haske urged the committee to announce a new timetable and date for the national convention, and also jettison its plan to dissolve all existing party executive structures.

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