Factions of the All Progressives Congress in Imo and Rivers states have opposed the party’s membership registration and revalidation holding across the states.
The factions listed among other reasons court orders halting the exercise in their respective states.
For instance, in Rivers State, while the faction loyal to the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, supported the exercise, loyalists of Senator Magnus Abe opposed it.
A spokesman for Amaechi’s loyalists, recognised by the APC National Secretariat, Ogbonna Nwuke, said, “What is clear to us is that materials are here, but people are to be trained first before registration starts. After the training, then we will go into operations in the field. But for the avoidance of doubt, by next week we (APC) will start registration.”
However, a spokesman for the Abe-led APC faction under the chairmanship of Igo Aguma, Livingstone Weche, in an interview with one of our correspondents, said, “There is a court order stopping the revalidation in Rivers State. That is what the Igo Aguma led faction complied with. You are aware that an order was given by a Rivers State High Court.”
A similar situation was obtained in Imo State.
A faction of the party loyal to Governor Hope Uzodinma is prepared for the exercise while loyalists of Senators Rochas Okorocha and Ifeanyi Ararume opposed the exercise on the grounds that they were still in court challenging the conduct of the exercise.
The APC State chairman loyal to Okorocha and Ararume, Dan Nwafor, told one of our correspondents in an interview in Owerri that he was in court to challenge the process because any activity taking place without his supervision as the authentic chairman would be illegal.
Nwafor said, “We are waiting for the court to hear our application for an injunction which hopefully will be heard next week.”
However, the state APC caretaker committee chairman, Marco Nlemigbo, said, “As a party in Imo State, we will not take issues with Chief Bisi Akande. He is an elder statesman. The truth is that there is nothing wrong with what APC is doing. The exercise will win more members to our party. Even in families, parents check if all their children have come back.”
The Senior Special Assistant on Print Media to the Imo State governor, Modestus Nwamkpa, quoted his principal as saying the exercise was in order because would eventually strengthen the party.
However, a former Cross River State chairman of the APC, John Ochala, while declaring the readiness of party members to partake in the exercise, urged everyone to consider the exercise “as a strategic step towards genuinely handing over the party to its real owners, the people.”
Following the reconciliation of feuding party members in Zamfara State, loyalists of a former state governor, Abdulaziz Yari, and those of Senator Kabiru Marafa assured the party that the exercise would be peaceful and commence as scheduled.
They both said there was now only one APC in Zamfara because factions no longer exist.
The APC Caretaker Committee Secretary in the state, Alhaji Sani Mono Mafara, in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents, said, “We have since reconciled ourselves and we are now united and stronger than before. Anybody who thinks that the APC is still fictionalised in Zamfara State is either ignorant of what happened in Abuja or is just a mischief-maker who does not mean well to the people of the state.”
Also, in spite of the raging crisis within the Kwara State chapter of the APC, party supporters in the state are preparing to partake in the exercise scheduled to commence on Tuesday.
Both the faction of the former chairman of the party, Bashir Bolarinwa, and the new chairman, Abdullahi Samari, have organised training programmes for members on the registration.
The APC state Vice Chairman (North), Chief Sunday Oyebiyi, who belongs to the faction loyal to the former chairman and the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the faction would participate in the registration which he said was important.
Oyebiyi said, “We have organised a training programme for our members where we enlightened them on what to do during the registration since the chairman of the registration sent from Abuja said that each member should register in his or her polling booth.”
The Publicity Secretary of the APC in the state, Tajudeen Aro, who belongs to Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq faction, said that 32 people drawn from the 16 local government area of the state had completed their training.
Aro explained that two people were drawn from each local government council, adding that they would, in turn, train those to conduct the exercise in the 193 wards in the state.
“We are fully prepared for the registration so that it would succeed in the state and the governor opened the exercise in his Idi-Igba polling booth in the Adewole ward in Ilorin West Local Government Area last Wednesday.”
The Governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni, who is also the Chairman of the APC national caretaker committee, has expressed optimism that the reconciliation efforts of the committee would yield the desired results in the few remaining states where there were some challenges.
Speaking through his Director-General (Media and Publicity), Mamman Mohammed, Buni expressed delight that efforts being made had yielded positive results across the country.
Reiterating his commitment to reconciliation and the ongoing membership registration/revalidation exercise, he said, “Our focus is to strengthen the party through a bottom-up approach and to carry everyone on along, while those aggrieved have happily rejoined APC just as new ones are joining our great party on a daily basis.
“The caretaker committee has reconciled many aggrieved members and factions across the country including the Zamfara State factions among others and bringing in prominent politicians into APC including Mr David Umahi, the governor of Ebonyi State with more coming.”
Mohammed also quoted his principal as saying, “This is a time for healing. All our aggrieved party members need to set aside their grievances and come over to join our nation-building efforts.
“We need not only our members but all Nigerians to support President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC administration to rebuild our nation.”
A former National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, has disagreed with critics of the ongoing membership registration and revalidation exercise embarked upon by the Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker/Extra-Ordinary National Convention Planning Committee.
Odigie-Oyegun described the exercise as a necessary step to clean up the party register and provide a level playing field for all members in a telephone interview from his Benin base, on Friday.
Odigie-Oyegun spoke barely 48 hours after the pioneer Interim National Chairman of the APC, Chief Bisi Akande, criticised the exercise, describing it as unnecessary.
Akande had argued, “No population census is repeated within less than a decade and voters are not re-registered at every election.
“Within this context, I see the present APC membership registration within less than a decade after the original register as an indefensible aberration leading to certain ugly perceptions that the APC leadership might be wasteful and unappreciative of the proper use of money in a kind of scanty economy in which Nigeria now finds itself.
“These seeming ugly perceptions put into abeyance the applause of the two national election successes that the original APC register enjoyed since its completion on 15th February 2014 and the over N1bn of 2014 value that the original register cost when the APC had no money of its own.”
However, Odigie-Oyegun, while justifying the actions of the Governor Buni-led committee, said, “People have moved in the party across the board; some moved to the front and some to the back. We need to know those who are truly in the APC to avoid a repeat of some of the mistakes that were made in the past.”
Asked if he was responding to concerns raised by Akande, Odigie-Oyegun said, “You don’t use party registration to win elections. The people of the country, 95 per cent of who are not members of the party, are the ones that decide who wins the elections, not the party members. It goes beyond party membership. If you put together the number of members of our political parties, they are not more than 12 million. The caretaker committee has very good reasons to carry out the membership registration and revalidation, let us all support them and let us get it over with and move on. I don’t see it doing any member or prospective member any harm whatsoever.”
When contacted, a member of the yet-to-be-inaugurated Board of Trustees of the APC, Alhaji Buba Galadima, wished the party and its members well in the exercise which he hinted he might not be participating in.