•PDP mocks ruling party over exercise
Chuks Okocha and Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The Chairman of the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Yobe State Governor, Alhaji Mai Mala Buni, yesterday took issue with the former Interim National Chairman of the party, Chief Bisi Akande, over his criticism of the ongoing membership registration and revalidation.
Buni, responding to Akande’s Wednesday comments that the exercise is a needless and an unnecessary waste of funds, described the membership drive as a constitutional provision and a strategic measure by the committee to give existing and new members a sense of belonging.
However, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lauded Akande for exposing what it called the fraud in the APC’s membership drive.
Akande had described the exercise as an indefensible aberration leading to certain ugly perceptions.
He also described the exercise as a waste of money considering the economic situation of the country.
But Buni, in a statement yesterday by his Director-General, Press and Media Affairs, Mr. Mamman Mohammed, said the registration and revalidation would assist the party to generate a valid, accurate and up-to-date data on party membership to enhance and support its planning process.
He stated: “Since the initial exercise in 2014, the party has not registered new members nor updated 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.”
Buni added that the party has succeeded in building a new confidence among its members and reassuring them of new hope.
He noted that the focus of the caretaker committee is to strengthen the party through a bottom-up approach and to carry everyone on board.
According to him, 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 the Governor of Ebonyi State, Chief David Umahi.
PDP Mocks APC
But the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday said the remarks by Akande on the membership drive by his party has confirmed revelations that the party’s membership revalidation and registration is designed to allot fictitious figures and inflate the APC membership register.
The PDP also mocked the ruling party over the free-for-all by its factions during its membership revalidation in Kwara State, saying it exposes the exercise as a monumental swindle.
The PDP also lampooned APC leaders over the public apathy that has greeted the exercise, despite the deployment of huge financial resources, stating that such is a further confirmation that Nigerians have rejected the APC.
In a statement by the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, the main opposition party said: “Nigerians are already aware that the purpose of the APC membership revalidation exercise is to produce inflated membership figures to assist the APC to allocated fictitious votes for it in 2023 elections; a scheme that is dead on arrival.”
He added that no Nigerian will want to join a party which is accused of ruining the country.
The PDP criticised the APC for allowing its members to engage in what it described as the show of shame as they clashed in a bloody brawl and destroyed public property over the struggle to control the ruling party.
“Our party, therefore, commends Chief Akande for his courage in speaking out on the shenanigans in the APC, including the antics of the illegal national caretaker committee, adding that its meddling with the party’s membership register further confirms revelations of the fraud inherent in the exercise.
“We also note Chief Akande’s declaration on the waste of resources in the scandalous exercise, which further shows APC’s insensitivity to the plight of suffering Nigerians,” the PDP stated.
The PDP, however, urged Akande and others in APC not to continue to waste their energy and goodwill on a dead and rejected party.
“Our party, therefore, urges Nigerians to continue to disregard the APC and remain steadfast in rallying on the PDP’s platform in the collective effort to rescue our nation from the misrule of the APC,” it said.