Political Bandits Opposed to APC’s Membership Registration, Says PGF DG

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Salihu Lukman

PDP: Bandits in ruling party responsible for failure in governance

Chuks Okocha and Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

The Director General of the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF), Dr. Salihu Lukman, yesterday described those opposed to the planned membership registration and revalidation exercise by the All Progressives Congress (APC), as political bandits who were desperate to install surrogate leaders.

This is coming as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday said that the fresh revelation that the APC brims with “political bandits” has further confirmed why the APC has visited the nation with so much violence, power grabbing, election malpractices, human rights abuses, unbridled looting and divisive policies under the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.

Lukman was reacting to threats by a group of party supporters under the aegis of Concerned APC members, to take legal action should the Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker/Extra-Ordinary Convention Planning Committee, proceed with the registration.

He insisted that nobody should be allowed to use any bullying tactics to force the party back to the old undemocratic ways of manipulating critical processes of leadership selection by undermining or corrupting the membership records.

Lukman in a statement issued yesterday said, since the reported decision to commence the process of membership registration/verification by the APC National Caretaker Committee, there have been media reports threatening legal actions to block the committee from organising the process.

He noted that some of the threats even go as far as claiming that the only mandate given to the Caretaker Committee led by Governor Mai Mala Buni is to organise a National Convention in December 2020.

He pointed out that it would appear that it is the old challenge of ensuring that the party remained with crisis-prone approaches based on some tight-fisted control of party structures by some leaders.

Lukman stated: “Ideally, the brewing debate in APC around membership registration should be healthy. If anyone doubt that APC is a party that accommodate internal debate and contestation, this is another evidence. But this is one contestation that can only survive if party members shy away from engaging these leaders. We will engage this debate with the objective of ensuring that the overarching consideration is the development of our party and our democracy. The debate must go beyond schemes to subordinate the party under the control or manipulation of anybody.”

The director general said one would expect any leader of the party with any claim of being a progressive or even democratic politician to welcome the need to have membership registration/verification ahead of the APC national convention.

“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.”

Lukman stated that there was no need to worry about any litigation on this matter, adding that all committed APC members should be ready for this stage of the struggle.

He said as committed party members, they should be able to combine the political battle for the democratic development of the party based on ensuring the institution of best practice standards as the operative framework for the party with skillful legal engagement.

The director general said that while it is important to appreciate the need to ensure that the provisions of the party’s constitution are respected by everyone, especially the Caretaker Committee, which has the difficult responsibility of resolving the leadership challenges, it is important that the right thing is done to lay solid democratic foundation for the party.

“How can any organ of the party claim any legitimacy when the membership of the party is suspect?,” He queried adding that, “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.”

Lukman said those leaders who are now campaigning for national convention without membership registration may just be taking advantages of the seeming respite in the party.

“However, may be as part of its efforts to restore sanity and shame those trying to stampede it into organising a National Convention that is at best a smokescreen for the emergence of surrogate leaders, the Caretaker Committee should consider bringing forward the scheduled party’s NEC meeting where, among others, it can present its progress report. Once NEC is able consider its report and take the necessary decisions, our political merchants of crisis would need to find new handle for their dastardly campaigns.”

Meanwhile, the PDP yesterday said that the fresh revelation that the APC brims with “political bandits” has further confirmed why the APC has visited the nation with so much violence, power grabbing, election malpractices, human rights abuses, unbridled looting and divisive policies under the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.

The PDP said that the revelation has also further established why Nigeria can never move forward or have rest under an APC administration and why its government is bedeviled with confusion and insensitivity.

In a statement issued yesterday by the National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan said that the revelation also showcases the reasons for the complete failure of governance and command structure in every sector of the national life under the APC.

The PDP asserted that the statement credited to the Director General of PGF, Lukman, that some APC leaders behave like “criminal bandits” further exposes the APC as no better than a pillaging and treasury looting gang.