John Odigie-Oyegun

Would the membership revalidation train, which started yesterday at varied items, wards, native authorities and state ranges of the All Progressives Congress (APC) usher in a brand new starting for social gathering devoted or create impetus for the emergence of recent house owners? The distinctive promoting proposal of the membership registration, which endeared it to the Nationwide Government Committee (NEC) members, revolved round democratising the working of the social gathering and finding out some encumbrances that dogged its formation.

Though some basis members of the amalgam, together with Tom Ikimi and Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa, amongst others have been displaced from the social gathering within the buildup to its ultimate regularization by the Impartial Nationwide Electoral Fee (INEC), APC’s cohesion continued to reveal fissures. Members of the legacy political events that fused into the mega platform continued to grouse amongst themselves. The primary bone of rivalry was the alleged domineering affect of the Motion Congress of Nigeria (ACN) bloc and appropriation of the booties of victory.

The intrigues that stopped the primary APC nationwide chairman Chief John Odigie Oyegun in need of getting a second time period in workplace have been traced to the overbearing schemes of the ACN leaders, who have been additionally mentioned to have used similar Oyegun to sabotage Chief Ikimi’s probabilities in 2014.

Having launched one other former Edo State governor, within the individual of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, to supplant Oyegun, the ACN bloc continued to dictate the tune and tempo of the social gathering’s inner politics. Oshiomhole’s first steps in workplace included the introduction of the direct technique as a substitute of the oblique or delegate system of choosing the social gathering’s candidates for electoral contests.

Oshiomhole’s determination to push by the direct methodology within the Osun State governorship major exacerbate complaints throughout the APC, with critics accusing the nationwide chairman of appearing the script of a strong former Lagos State governor to favour one of many aspirants. Instant previous Deputy Speaker of the Home of Representatives, Hon. Yussuf Lason identified that the absence of a daily and up to date members register raised believable credibility questions for direct major.

Shoving the complaints apart, some aspirants, together with Lasun, opted out of the first whereas the previous Secretary to the State Authorities (SSG), Alhaji Moshood Adeoti, angrily defected to the African Democratic Celebration (ADP), the place he contested the 2018 governorship ballot.
Patching up glitches

IN the principle, the bid to go over the possession of APC to members stoked the thought of endeavor a foolproof registration of social gathering devoted. Though the train would begin on February 2, by 16, 2021, the method for the membership registration, replace and revalidation kicked off yesterday with the empanelling of State Registration Committees (SRCs) for the train.

Going by the timetable launched by the Nationwide Membership Registration Committee (NMRC), the train can be pushed by seven-man committee put in place for every state, which shall be inaugurated tomorrow, Wednesday, January 27, 2021. Whereas the train-the-trainers workshop for the train would begin shortly thereafter on the Nationwide Secretariat, distribution of registration supplies, digital devices and consumables to all designated registration facilities nationwide shall be undertaken from Thursday January 28 to Monday February 1, 2021.

The NMRC additionally indicated that the Part II of the registration, replace and revalidation would happen from February 21 by 26, for the consideration of all appeals and complaints arising from the train. Thereafter, the committee said, the show of membership register in any respect social gathering wards/native authorities places of work and forwarding of all accomplished types to the Nationwide Secretariat can be finished from February 27, to March 1, 2021

The NMRC, below the management of Niger State governor, Abubakar Sani-Bello, is predicted to submit the ultimate experiences for consideration of the social gathering’s Caretaker/Further-Atypical Conference Planning Committee (CECPC) round March 2, and eight.

It’s believed that the revalidation of the APC membership register would mark a big step in the direction of curbing the affect of godfathers within the polity. The godfathers, most of whom will need to have occupied public places of work, together with the Presidency and state executives often determine election winners and losers.

Blessed with quick access to huge cash, the godfathers have been recognized to affect political selections, by pulling the strings behind the scenes, deploying bullish and arm-twisting techniques to foist their godsons into public places of work towards the desires of social gathering devoted.

Altering powerbases
MOST APC bigwigs declare that incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari, who in his inaugural deal with as President declared, “I belong to everyone and I belong to no person”, nonetheless recognise the godfather position performed by Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu in his eventual emergence because the social gathering’s presidential candidate in Lagos in December 2014.

Related clout was additionally delivered to bear on the collection of the social gathering’s nationwide chairmen, when Chief Oyegun and Comrade Oshiomhole at totally different instances have been sponsored. This feat was reckoned as proof of Tinubu’s position as an influence fulcrum of the social gathering, but in addition introduced him at loggerheads with a key caucus of the social gathering, significantly governors angling for the 2023 presidency.

As an example, the crises that rocked APC state chapters, together with Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Kwara, Edo, Adamawa, Kano, Zamfara, Imo, Kaduna, Bauchi, Taraba, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross Rivers, have been linked to the jostling for relevance. Additionally, by social gathering chieftains have been mentioned to be exerting their energies to withstand the overbearing affect of godfathers eager on imposing their most popular candidates on the social gathering come 2023.

Based mostly on these noticed influences, the Caretaker Extraordinary Conference Planning Committee (CECPC), emerged after the sacking of Oshiomhole’s Nationwide Working Committee (NWC) in June 25, 2020. The CECPC, headed by Yobe State governor, Mai Mala Buni, was charged with the duties of stabilising the social gathering and creating an inclusive political setting, the place each member isn’t solely given a good likelihood, but in addition the place the principles are unambiguous and never skewed to favour any particular person, group, or curiosity.

Upon mounting the saddle, Buni deployed his expertise because the social gathering’s former nationwide scribe and refused to be stampeded right into a hurried nationwide conference. The Yobe State governor left nobody unsure that he was upbeat concerning the success of his mandate.

Talking of the revalidation train, Buni defined that it’s a precursor to the conduct of APC congresses in any respect ranges. He added that not like within the 2018 train that threw up parallel congresses, it could be a good and clear means of electing officers for the varied organs of the social gathering that can culminate within the nationwide conference anticipated to carry earlier than the tip of this yr.

He justified the train, noting that the final membership registration occurred 2014, including, “The CECPC is working to create a member-centered social gathering construction; one which ensures the complete participation of all members and accords privileges to strengthened members’ belief, beliefs and engagements in all social gathering actions.

“The social gathering had within the final seven years acquired thousands and thousands of politicians who left different political events and joined the APC however weren’t registered. Equally thousands and thousands of youth who attained the age of 18 years and above have joined the social gathering inside this era couldn’t be registered.  Once more, others who had left the social gathering nonetheless have their names within the register.

“The registration and revalidation train due to this fact gives the chance for each new and previous members to register and replace their membership within the social gathering, and for the social gathering to expunge names of those that had left in order to have a clear and updated membership register.

“I’m assured that on the finish of the train, each member of the social gathering would have the privilege of getting registered as an APC member, and to have a way of belonging as a member of the social gathering. I’m very certain that our figures within the register would surge into quadruples or much more, to additional show that APC is certainly Nigeria’s largest and main political social gathering.”

However, what Buni couldn’t disclose was that inside his interior caucus of state governors, there are a selection of stalwarts which might be desperate to occupy the place of recent godfathers or no less than, represent an influence cabal, for the dispensation of favours.

From the literature launched concerning the registration, there have been no ensures that company or group registration wouldn’t happen, particularly provided that some governorship and senatorial aspirants have begun exploring methods to shore up a membership haul that would assure victory throughout direct major.

As an example, Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello, who chairs the Committee on Sensitization and Mobilization, is aspiring to contest the presidential ticket of the social gathering. The governor nonetheless allayed the fears in some quarters that eligible Nigerians who’re desirous to affix the governing social gathering wouldn’t be allowed unfettered entry.

“Our enterprise is to develop our social gathering to not restrict folks. Individuals make the social gathering; social gathering doesn’t make folks. The extra the merrier, we shouldn’t get intimidated by the standard and calibre of potential members, as a result of we really feel that they may deprive us of some sure positions.

“That’s left within the fingers of God. However, what’s vital is the success of the social gathering in any respect elections and as soon as we obtain that there’ll all the time be room for somebody.”

Bello had, at a gathering with the Appearing Chairmen of 36 states chapters, listed the advantages inherent within the train, stressing: “No one ought to intimidate anybody. Enable different political events who need to be part of us to return and be part of the APC. You may see the gale of decamping from the opposite political events, it means APC is the social gathering to go. We’re going to be certain that everyone is carried alongside no matter your background, class, non secular or creed distinction. You don’t must be afraid or petrified of who’s coming as Committee to State to conduct registration.

“In case you are a politician that value your self excessive, you need to belong to the grassroots. Politics is native. It’s best to have followership on the grassroots. What we’re beginning with now’s the idea – let folks come into APC. Individuals make the social gathering. The social gathering doesn’t make folks.

“You can’t declare to be sturdy or be in energy or in authority at present in case your membership or base isn’t huge and strong sufficient. As a pacesetter, the variety of folks you’ll be able to persuade to affix our political social gathering both from a distinct political social gathering and even those that wouldn’t have curiosity in politics earlier than, the a lot have been you in a position to make them to affix APC, that’s your power. Don’t trouble about what occurred thereafter.”

Increase or blow for inner democracy
MEMBERSHIP reconfiguration might need been packaged as an open sesame for inner democracy, however with the vaulting ambition of some founding fathers, it might backfire. The primary check of the efficacy of constructing each member an equal founder and joiner can be seen in the course of the state congresses and nationwide conference.

Would zoning of places of work precede the train? After places of work are zoned, would each member be free to contest and run his/her marketing campaign with out undue pressures to step apart? How inexpensive would the assertion of intent and nomination types be?

Director Common of Progressive Governors’ Discussion board (PGF), Dr. Salihu Lukman, dismissed all apprehensions. He contended {that a} credible and verifiable membership register stays the muse for inner democracy throughout the social gathering. 

In his e-book on the topic entitled: “APC and Progressive Politics in Nigeria,” Lukman recognized absence of inner democracy because the supply of just about all inner conflicts. He enjoined social gathering chieftains to eschew bitterness and acrimonious relationship forward of the 2023 normal elections, simply as he urged the social gathering management to make sure that a management succession association in any respect ranges are deliberate and standards for management recruitment are set. 

Optimistic indices
APC leaders proceed to level to latest developments within the social gathering as constructive indices, that the social gathering was heading in the right direction in the direction of avoiding the much-anticipated implosion.

Among the constructive strikes are the return of former members, together with the fast previous Speaker of the Home of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, former nationwide chairman of the PDP, Senator Barnabas Gemade Chief Jimoh Ibrahim, former Head of Service of the Federation, Mr Danladi Kifasi, Sen. Isa Hamma Misau, Alhaji Salisu Takai, Ebonyi state governor, Dave Umahi to the APC alongside scores of Nationwide Meeting members to the social gathering from throughout the nation has been attributed to the continuing reform within the social gathering.

Celebrating the doorway as early harvests, the Buni committee is already referring to the strikes to evaluate the APC Structure, the decision of the possession tussle surrounding the constructing that homes the nationwide Secretariat, settlement of the Celebration’s monetary obligations, the electoral successes in Ondo governorship ballot, the Nationwide Meeting bye-election victories in Lagos, Plateau and Nasarawa States as a part of the inroads to date recorded to reposition the social gathering.

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