By Omeiza Ajayi
Ahead of the APC membership registration and revalidation which starts on Tuesday, February 9, political gladiators in the nation’s ruling party are squaring up to again test their relevance.
From Kwara to Lagos, Zamfara to Enugu or Rivers, political actors are reportedly scheming to outdo their rivals and take control of the party register when at the conclusion of the exercise.
While the party recently reconciled some of its members across the states, the situation in Zamfara remains dicey. Just last week, former Governor Abdulaziz Yari and Sen. Kabir Marafa embraced reconciliation, but reports indicate that some of their supporters are spoiling for a showdown.
Also, there have been grumblings by some chieftains of the party who had continued to allege that the current register of party members is centralised in the hands of a national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu who has sole access to membership data.
However, the party has dismissed concerns that the registration exercise is targeted at any individual.
“Our focus is to strengthen the party through a bottom-up approach and to carry everyone on board, while those aggrieved have happily rejoined APC just as new ones have joined the party”, said Gov. Mai Mala Buni who chairs the APC Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee CECPC.
According to him, the membership registration and revalidation exercise is a constitutional provision which is part of the strategic measures taken by the committee to give existing and new members a sense of belonging.
“Since the initial exercise in 2014, the party has not registered new members nor update the personal information of our existing members as provided for by the constitution.
“The registration exercise gives our new members a sense of belonging and the existing members will update their information while those who left the party will have their names removed from the party register” he said.
Governor Buni said the registration and revalidation exercise would assist the party to generate a valid, accurate and upto date data on party membership to enhance and support its planning process.
By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Ahead of the commencement of the All Progressives Congress, APC registration and validation of membership exercise, attention was this week being put on Lagos State, the base of Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu, the national leader of the party.
The focus on Lagos was against the background of claims that the exercise was mainly being conducted to checkmate Tinubu who is generally acclaimed to have supervised the 2014 registration exercise and has the membership data in his custody.
As at press time party chieftains were yet to affirm when the exercise would commence in Lagos following what was claimed as logistic issues that derailed the training programme for the officials that are supposed to conduct the registration exercise.
The training which was supposed to commence from Thursday could not start on that day and sources claimed it could start at the weekend following which the registration exercise would commence.
The botch in the training programme is only one of several issues that have dogged the registration/revalidation exercise for party members particularly in Lagos State.
That was after futile efforts by party chiefs from Lagos to defer the exercise, the last being last week’s open letter by Rep. James Faleke to the National Caretaker Committee.
Faleke had argued that conducting the registration exercise during the COVID-19 pandemic would worsen the health crisis in the country, an argument the party quickly quashed by vowing to uphold safe distancing protocol during the registration exercise.
Upon the apparent determination of the national headquarters to ensure the registration exercise goes ahead, party chiefs in Lagos have taken their fate in their hands, albeit with strong reservations.
As a senior party chieftain told Saturday Vanguard, “you heard Baba Akande? Is it not a waste of money? Which party goes to do registration exercise when we just did one few years ago?”
However, the musing by the Lagos party chieftains is coming against the background of alleged mutterings as local political foes of Tinubu’s join forces with his foes in Abuja to take the party from his hands.
Interestingly for the first time in a long while, Tinubu is being challenged in his base to the extent that the camp is for the first time deploying strategies against once loyal followers now risen up against him.
The opposition to Tinubu Saturday Vanguard gathered is being championed by the Lagos4Lagos Movement led by Abdulazeez Adediran, a well known associate of Babatunde Fashola.
Saturday Vanguard gathered from multiple sources that Fashola is totally out of the loop in the game against Tinubu despite the fact that Adediran is popularly known as a friend and an associate of his family.
Adediran it was also gathered has a well established linkage with erstwhile chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, Mr. Babatunde Fowler
As part of the attempts against Tinubu it was gathered that the Lagos4Lagos Movement working in cahoots with the Faoud Oki led faction of the Lagos State APC was through this week mobilizing its supporters to infiltrate the party by turning up for the registration.
“Our plan is to massively turn out to partake in the registration and ensure that our people make their identity felt within the party,” Seun Soyinka, director, strategy and communications, of the Lagos4Lagos Movement told Saturday Vanguard ahead of the registration exercise.
“You and I know that we have a register but that register is not at the party secretariat, it is in somebody’s house and this is an opportunity to broaden the opportunity for all stakeholders, he added.
“You would also have seen how the registration exercise has been seriously challenged from a particular section of the polity, but we and our people are ready,” he added. Hon. Segun Idris, vice-chairman of Amuwo Odofin Local Government Area, a key operative of the APC in the Lagos West Senatorial district, and former administrative secretary, however, dismissed the critics saying that they were running after shadows.
Noting what he described as the laudable political feats of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu he said that the efforts to tumble his ascendancy in Lagos and the country through the registration exercise would amount to a nullity.
Idris said that Tinubu by his feat has been able to turn Lagos into a model that is able to bring people from different places and religion to harness the best from them for the collective good of the citizenry.
“You see what he did in Lagos, bringing people of all hue despite the seizure of Lagos funds to transform the state,” Idris said.
“They run away from witches and wizards in their states to come here to say nonsense and smear the man who made them. All of them talking is there anyone of them that was not groomed by Tinubu?
“My brother it is wrong to bite the hand that fed you.
They have no issue against him. We know their strategies, but they don’t know ours, we are waiting for them,” Idris told Saturday Vanguard.