From LAYI OLANREWAJU, Ilorin
The Information and Culture Minister Alhaji Lai Mohammed yesterday called for the immediate cancellation of the ongoing All Progressives Congress (APC) membership registration exercise in Kwara state.
The minister said that the conduct of the exercise was fraud with irregularities in the state.
He urged the national Secretariat of the party to instead, put in place a process that will ensure the conduct of a credible and fair exercise that will enjoy the support and confidence of all.
Alhaji Mohamed also called for the “immediate disbandment of the Senator John Danboyi-led membership registration committee for the state. A vast majority of the APC stakeholders in the state have lost confidence in the committee.
“The constitution of a fresh membership registration committee that is truly independent, non-compromised and sensitive to the delicate diverse interests in the party; a thorough investigation into the botched membership registration exercise by the Senator John Danboyi-led committee.’
The APC stalwart told newsmen in Oro, Irepodun Local Government Area of the state, shortly after revalidating his membership of the party.
He added “that these demands are the irreducible minimum requirements for peace and progress in the Kwara APC.”
He said that reports from the monitoring teams had shown that the whole exercise did not comply with the stipulated guidelines.
According to him ,”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 Governor AbdulRaman Abdulrazaq belongs, thus excluding 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.
“When the registration officials from Abuja landed in Ilorin, they simply handed over the registration materials to an individual, not recognized by the provisions of the guidelines, who has decided to hoard them instead of distributing them to the wards (we also have evidence to back this up).
“The implication is that the registration is being carried out without party membership Register, while temporary membership slips, to be signed and detached from the forms after registration, are not being given to those who have purportedly registered.”
He alleged that there is a “clear indication yet that the police and other security agencies may be complicit in the mess being made of the membership registration in Kwara state.
“It instead of membership registers, conniving registration officials are using exercise books or foolscap sheets to register members.
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.
“Also, due to the shoddy and
non-compliant mode of registration, using exercise books and foolscap sheets instead of the membership register, many members are unwilling to submit their personal details via such unsecured and illegal process.
There seems a deliberate policy of exclusion by the registration team from Abuja and their collaborators. It seems there is a plan to de-register even high-ranking members and stakeholders who have not only paid their dues in the party, but without whose contribution this government would not have been in power. For example, at the Registration Unit of Senator Gbemi Saraki, Minister of State for Transport, which is PU 005 at Ode-Opobiyi in Ajikobi Ward of Ilorin West LGA, not a single registration official has been sighted at the designated point since the commencement of the exercise, not to talk of registration materials. This is the situation in all other places considered to be the stronghold of high-ranking party members.
“Also in Ifelodun, local government, registration officials only showed up once and disappeared, making it impossible for many members to register.
“Also, even though the registration exercise was supposed to last two weeks, registration officials only showed up in many registration units for only one day.
“There is no stronger evidence of deliberate exclusion than this. Also, if the purpose of this registration exercise is to revalidate old members and register new ones, why then are people being prevented from registering? Meanwhile, members across the state who have complained about the non-compliance with the guidelines have been arrested and threatened with prosecution, while many have been beaten up. At the last count, over 100 of our members have had to been bailed from police stations.
“They have not had any useful interaction with lawful members of the state exco as well as party leaders and other stakeholders.
“It is clear, from what I have enumerated above, that there seems to be a policy to massively disenfranchise/de-register APC members in the state. This has left many members disillusioned.”