From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Headquarters of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was practically grounded in the early hours of Monday by protesters, numbering hundreds, demanding for the extension of the ongoing party’s membership registration and revalidation exercise.
The protesters had stormed the party’s Secretariat by 10.30am in a sting operation that lasted for just 30 minutes, displaying posters with various inscriptions, collectively appealing to the ruling party’s national leadership to extend the exercise.
Although most of the protesters were clearly disoriented, shouting APC and responding Power, some of them displayed inscriptions like, ‘extend the time for party membership revalidation and registration for new members’; ‘don’t close the door against others, don’t stop the registration’; ‘like INEC, new members registration should be a continuous process, extend the registration exercise’; ‘membership makes party great, allow more members, don’t stop the registration exercise’; ‘millions of members are yet to revalidate their membership and new members are waiting’; among many others.
In the letter of appeal for extension of the registration handed over the National Secretary of the APC Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, Senator John James Akpanudoehede, the organisers of the protest introduced themselves as Coalition of Political Action Group, consisting of concerned stakeholders who are members of various state chapters of the party.
According to letter signed by Habeeb Mutallib; the group noted: “we are here in relation to the ongoing membership registration and revalidation exercise scheduled to end in two days time, March 31, 2021. It is our firm expectation and demand that the exercise should be extended indefinitely until such a time as it becomes incompatible with the electoral laws and timetable.
“The membership registration registration and revalidation exercise has proven to be an inspired idea by the National Caretaker Committee led by the able chairman. It has provided a reason for many of our wareing leaders and factions to unite around a common objective in the higher interest of our party as they work together to make certain the exercise succeeds in their constituencies.
“Bearing in mind that our father and most valuable player, President Muhammadu Bunari, will not be on the ballot in 2023 which means we must devise sustainable means to retain power and continue his legacies, the exercise is the only political event within our party since 2015 which has rekindled our hopes that the grassroots energies which propelled us to victory and displaced the PDP from the Presidentin 2015 still exists.
“Since nature abhors vacuum, we are aware that if the APC wraps up this exercise prematurely as planned, the PDP, the APC’s perennial opposition which has always fancied itself our would-be nemesis, Will immediately exploit the breather to start her own raucous mobilisation exercise in a bid to distract the populace from her heinous crimes against the Republic while she held sway between 1999 and 2015.
“Good politics demand that we deny the PDP such an opportunity. To do so, we must remain prolific in counting Nigerians both by sustaining an unending flow of good governance manifesting as the dividends of democracy as well as by direct engagement programmes like this exercise.
“We therefore appeal to the National Caretaker Committee to grant an indefinite extension of the APC membership registration and revalidation exercise. Our request is predicated sorely on the proven benefits of the exercise to our numerical strength and political standing as a party and especially in areas where we have hitherto faced resistance, such as the South East,” he said.
Speaking after receiving the letter of appeal, the party’s chief scribe commended the protesters for being very peaceful, promising to handover their letter to the National chairman, Governor Mai Mala Buni.