Minister condemns Kwara APC registration exercise, calls for cancellation
Solomon Chung, Ilorin
Nigeria’s Minister of information and culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed has called for the immediate cancellation of the All Progressive Congress Membership Registration Exercise in Kwara State, central Nigeria.
He disclosed on Monday during a press briefing in his home town of Oro in the state after he revalidated his membership registration at his ward, polling unit, PU 006, Oro Ward 2.
TEXT OF THE PRESS CONFERENCE ADDRESSED BY THE HON. MINISTER OF INFORMATION AND CULTURE, ALHAJI LAI MOHAMMED,ON THE ONGOING APC MEMBERSHIP REGISTRATION EXERCISE …IN ORO, KWARA STATE, ON MONDAY, FEB. 15TH 2021#Thread 👇 pic.twitter.com/bDMpQtIcR0
— Fed Min of Info & Cu (@FMICNigeria) February 15, 2021
After describing the entire process as flawed and fallen short of the party standard he also called for the immediate disbandment of the Senator John Danboyi-led Membership Registration Committee for Kwara State.
The Minister also called for the constitution of a fresh Membership Registration Committee that is truly independent, non-compromised and sensitive to the delicate diverse interests in the party
Mohammed also called on the national body to embark on a thorough investigation into the botched membership registration exercise by the Senator John Danboyi-led committee, affirming that that these demands are the irreducible minimum requirements for peace and progress in the Kwara APC.
“The guidelines stipulate consultation with all stakeholders by the Registration Officials from Abuja.
“After the botched attempt to have a meeting of stakeholders, due to orchestrated violence, the Registration Officials failed to consult with all stakeholders before the commencement of the membership registration exercise, opting instead to work with only one of the four tendencies here in Kwara, the Fagbemi Group to which the Governor belongs.
“The implication of this is that the other formidable blocs have been excluded.
“The three other tendencies – The Akogun Group, the Gbemi Saraki Group and the Lai Mohammed Group, without which the ‘O To Ge’ Movement would not have succeeded.
“Ironically, the Fagbemi Group is the weakest of the four tendencies. Out of the 193 wards in the state, the group has only nine ward chairmen and does not have even one local government chairman.
“Even at the state EXCO, the Fagbemi group has only four members. Also, the recruitment of officials for the registration has been a one-sided affair and indications are that the hand-picked officials are under strict orders ‘from above’ as to how to carry out the exercise. We have evidence to corroborate this.”
The Minister also revealed that the guidelines are also clear on how registration materials are to be handed over and distributed.
According to the guidelines, officials for the assignment are prohibited from handing over 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 are to be captured and reported accordingly.
“According to our findings, since the commencement of the registration, over 80% of the registration units do not have either membership register or membership registration slips. In the few places where they are available, they are kept in private apartments of some political office holders.”
Besides the politicians form the other bloc, the Minister also accused the police and other security agencies of complicity in the illegality being made of the membership registration in Kwara State.
The Minister alleged that conniving registration officials are using exercise books or foolscap sheets to register members.
“Even senior Kwara government officials and State House of Assembly members were made to write their details in the exercise books and sheets, in clear violation of the guidelines. We have pictorial and video evidence of this.
“More worrisome is that members who have purportedly registered are being asked to come back for their registration slips.
“Till date, no such member has been given the registration slip. Even senior officials of the State Government, including Special Advisers, as well as House of Assembly members, have had to register using exercise books/foolscap sheets.”
“There seems to be a plan to de-register even high-ranking members and stakeholders who have not only paid their dues in the party, but whose contribution played a vital part to bring this government into power.”
“They have not had any useful interaction with lawful members of the State EXCO as well as party leaders and other stakeholders, including Local Government Chairmen and their executives and Ward Chairmen and their executives.
“These are lawfully-constituted party executives that the registration guidelines stipulate should not only be consulted but carried along during the exercise.
“It is clear, from what I have enumerated above, that there seems to be a policy to massively disenfranchise/de-register APC members in Kwara State. This has left many members disillusioned.”
Recalled that the APC in Kwara state staged a massive collaborative campaigned in 2019, bringing divergent interests together to defeat the then ruling People’s Democratic Party. A victory that was very unprecedented, at almost 100 %.
However, the management of that victory seems to be the biggest problem of the party in Kwara ahead of the next election in 2023.