Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Director-General, All Progressives Congress (APC) Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), Salihu Moh. Lukman, has said that credible and verifiable membership register is the solution to the recurring leadership crisis rocking the ruling party.
In his statement titled; ‘Campaign against membership registration in APC: A amokescreen for surrogate leadership’, the PGF DG described the opponents of membership registration as political bandits.
“Our best route to addressing all our leadership challenges has to find its bearing with reference to ensuring that we are able to produce a credible and verifiable membership register that is the foundation for the emergence of leaders at all levels.
“This is so fundamental and is in fact what should distinguish our party from all the other parties in the country. Any leader who is not comfortable means that such a leader doesn’t have respect for members and is unwilling to subordinate himself or herself to members. If a leader is unwilling to subordinate himself or herself to party members, why should anyone risk investing any superior elective political power to such a person?” Salihu noted.
Defending the need for a membership registration and coming hard on those opposing it, the PGF DG said: “These so-called leaders advocating for APC to have National Convention without going through the process of membership registration/verification simply want to plant their surrogates as the new leaders of the party. To achieve that, false arguments are being presented that the National Convention of the party doesn’t require membership registration.
“There is no need to worry about any litigation on this matter. All committed APC members should be ready for this stage of the struggle. As committed party members, we should be able to combine the political battle for the democratic development of our party based on ensuring the institution of best practice standards as the operative framework for our party with skillful legal engagement.
“Nobody should be allowed to use any bullying tactics to force us back to the old undemocratic ways of manipulating critical processes of leadership selection in our party by undermining or corrupting our membership records.
“Without credible and verifiable membership, there is practically no party organ, there can only be illegitimate leaders and therefore illegal delegates to any National Convention. As party members, we should be able to summon the confidence to prove this in any court of law.
“While it is important to appreciate the need to ensure that the provisions of our party’s constitution are respected by everyone, especially the Caretaker Committee, which has the difficult responsibility of resolving our leadership challenges, it is important that the right thing is done to lay solid democratic foundation for our party.
“How can any organ of the party claim any legitimacy when the membership of the party is suspect? If the membership of the party is suspect, the legitimacy of delegates who will attend the National Convention will be also suspect.
“This is because, for instance, Article 9.4 of the APC constitution specifically provide 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.
“Provided that the party shall update its membership records every six months and remit updated copies to appropriate Secretariats. Thereafter, it shall be the responsibility of a member to ensure that his or her name is duly entered in the Ward Register.
“When was the last time anybody was registered as 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 provide 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 suspect.
“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,” he noted.