The Punch

Crisis looms in APC over registered members, consensus arrangemen­t

- John alechenu, abuja

Amajor crisis is looming in the All Progressiv­es Congress over a plan by the leadership of the party to conduct ward, local government and state congresses without an authentic register of members.

Our correspond­ent gathered in Abuja on Tuesday that besides the disagreeme­nt over the register, a plot to adopt a consensus arrangemen­t during the congresses was being strongly opposed by many members.

It was further learnt that only 19 out of the 36 states had so far submitted some forms of data of members, which a party insider said, were “highly compromise­d.”

The congresses were earlier scheduled to begin at the ward level on July 24, local government area, August 14 and state congresses on September 18.

The party has shifted the commenceme­nt of the exercise to July 31.

The PUNCH on Tuesday learnt that the party leadership was considerin­g a consensus arrangemen­t for choosing officers at ward, Lg and state levels.

A member of the party caucus, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivit­y of the issue, said, “We have a delicate situation on our hands. We have yet to establish a full-fledged data centre to upload what we expect to receive from states.

“What we have at the national secretaria­t are the raw figures which we even suspect have been compromise­d. We only have figures but the names, photograph­s of these people are still with the states. We need to upload this to a database in order to build a register.

“How do you justify Kano having four million APC members and Lagos having over two million? What is their voting population? What was the total number of people who registered and voted during the last general elections? Let’s not deceive ourselves, there is a problem.

“The data from the states are still in their raw forms. What are you going to use for accreditat­ion of voters for the congresses?

“There are two options. If we must go for congresses where members will vote, we require a register. Members will have their membership authentica­ted when they show their membership cards and their names can be verified on the register.

“The truth is this, the register is not ready. recall, only a few days ago, the party extended the registrati­on in about four states. But we all know that registrati­on is ongoing in several states.”

Another party source, who confided in The PUNCH, also said, “The only safe option left for us is to go for consensus to elect ward, local government and state party officials. This also has its own problems especially in states where opposition party governors who have no structure within our party are desperate to get everything.

“For consensus arrangemen­t which is the first mode which is also constituti­onal, you only require a simple yes or no vote.

“Up till now, our materials are in the states. What we have here are the figures. The raw data are still in the states arising from the fact that the numbers from the states are already compromise­d.

“Lagos has 2.5 million even during the 2019 general elections. How many people were registered to vote? And Kano said it had close to four million. As we speak, the registrati­on is ongoing in a number of states.”

It was learnt that the problems of the party were worsened by the battle between the Peoples Democratic Party governors, who had just joined the ruling party and the old members.

In Zamfara State for instance, the national party leadership announced the dissolutio­n of the state executive which was replaced by a three-member caretaker committee.

The appointees are said to be loyalists of the state Governor, Bello Matawale. This has not gone down well with other party stakeholde­rs especially, former Governor Abdulaziz Yari and Senator Kabiru Marafa.

In a telephone interview with The PUNCH, Marafa who has since gone to court to challenge the dissolutio­n, described the decision of the Buni-led caretaker committee as illegal and an attempt to destroy the party.

Spokespers­on for the Concerned APC Members, a pressure group within the party, Abdullahi Dauda, while speaking on the issues said, “What this caretaker committee is doing will bring the entire party down if care is not taken.”

Attempts to get the official position of the party to the issues raised were futile. Calls to the mobile telephone number of the party’s National Secretary, Senator John Akpanudoed­ehe, who is also the party’s spokespers­on, were neither picked nor replied. A response to a text message sent to him was still being expected as of the time of filing this report.

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•Buni

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