From Okwe Obi, Abuja
A member representing Ikeja Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, James Faleke, has advised the National Chairman, Caretaker Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC), and Yobe State Governor, Mai Bala Buni, to postpone the party’s registration to a better time because of the dreaded COVID-19.
Faleke, who is the chairman, House Committee on Finance, in a open letter yesterday, said the experience he had as a result of COVID-19 sent shivers down his spine not to expose himself or his worst enemies to the virus.
He argued that if the leadership of APC goes ahead with the exercise, it would portray the party in a bad light given its promise to contain further spread of the virus by discouraging large gathering.
“I felt the decision to revalidate and conduct new registration of members is a laudable and commendable one. Because as we move towards another general elections in 2023, the need to update our membership register could not have come at a more opportune period.
“However, laudable as the registration plan may be, what about the timing of the exercise? With due respect sir, it is my considered opinion that the timing is not appropriate at this time, especially given the the renewed surge in the spread of Covid as it is being reported on daily basis by the Presidential Task Force. Some states are already over stretched in oxygen supplies and care.
“Our Government has for some time given directives to the Religious bodies to reduce congressional attendance at both Churches and Mosques. So many states have cancelled social gatherings.
“While others are compelling the use of face masks to reduce the rate of infection and fatalities. So why must we go into an exercise that will certainly draw large crowds across the various states?
“However, the situation in the country occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic have compelled me to have a rethink on the desirability of continuing with the exercise as planned.
“Mr Chairman, I’m strongly of the opinon that this exercise should be put postponed till a more appropriate time. Personally, I believe this will not only shore up the image of our great party but will also save lives of Nigerians.
“The Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19, Mr Boss Mustapha had warned that the second wave of the pandemic would be more dangerous and deadly. Events since the beginning of the year have proven him right.
“Mustapha himself was struck by the deadly virus and yours truly also tested positive to the virus recently. Mustapha, Others and I are lucky to survive. But several others did not.
“Already, places of worship are operating in half capacity while in some states, most civil servants are working from home.
“All these measures were put in place to control the spread of the deadly virus, my question is do we need to aggravate the situation by going ahead with our registration and revalidation exercise?
“The exercise is meant to register millions of our members across the federation and I forsee two scenarios: it’s either we have our members coming out in multitude to register or most deciding not to come out at all for fear of being infected. The two options are not good enough for us as a party.
“If our members come out to register in high numbers, then the possibility of increase in the number of COVID-19 cases might be high and ultimately lead to increase in the number of fatalities.
“If our members refuse to come out for fear of being infected, then we will have lesser numbers of members to be registered for our party. Either way, God forbid, we lose.
“We are the ruling party and we must be in the forefront of promoting the welfare of our people, pushing this exercise forward will rather add to our popularity rather than reducing it. We can afford to do this because we presently don’t have any particular election to deal with.
“The second variant of COVID-19 is ravaging the world and most countries of the world have entered a second lockdown.
“There is a Federal Government directive that we should avoid large gatherings of people and that social distancing should be maintained at all times and personally, I don’t believe we can achieve adequate social distancing if the registration and validation exercise is allowed to go ahead.
“I am a survivor of COVID-19 and I knew the harrowing experience I went through which I would not wish even for my bitterest enemy.
“My humble opinion and suggestion is we should postpone this exercise to a time that is conducive, when the coronavirus situation in the country would have improved,” he said.