By AUSTIN OWOICHO, Abuja
Director General of the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF) Salihu Moh. Lukman, has given reasons why the planned process of membership registration/verification in the All Progressives Congress (APC) are necessary even before national convention of the party.
He however described as political bandits those opposing the move, even as he appealed to them to have a change of mind.
Some party members had argued that the mandate of He current National Caretaker Committee of APC does not cover membership registration, and should the Caretaker Committee go ahead with the planned membership registration, notice of court action is being presented.
According to them, the Caretaker Committee has up to December 2020 ‘to do the needful or be chased out’.
But while responding to the threat, the APC chieftain said the party constitution provides that the party shall update its membership records every six months and remit updated copies to appropriate Secretariats.
Lukman alleged that some leaders who are opposing the registration plan are those who want to manipulate the process to push the National Caretaker Committee into organising a National Convention with perhaps rented delegates.
In a statement made available to newsmen Thursday in Abuja, the PGF boss said the Caretaker Committee is competent and will be able to overcome all the allegations aimed at bullying them to simply organise a National Convention that can at best produce surrogate leaders with hardly any verifiable membership register.
According to him, 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.
“When was the last time anybody was registered as APC member in any part of the country? When was the last time any Ward in the country transmitted to any Local Government Secretariat and/or Local Government transmitted any copy to National Secretariat? Yet, our party’s constitution provide that membership records should be updated every six months.
“How can any leader even attempt to raise questions about why we should have membership registration/verification? In this age of banditry, it will appear that some of our so-called leaders are as skillful in politics as the criminal bandits ravaging our communities – towns and villages.
“We must appeal to these so-called leaders to come back to their senses. For anybody to claim our party’s membership, not even emerge as a leader, the legal standing of such a person must be beyond suspect.
“Noting that part of the rights and privileges of members as provided in Article 9.3 of the party’s constitution include the ‘right to vote and be voted for into any of the elective positions’, it is clear that our party leaders who want to manipulate the process want to push the National Caretaker Committee into organising a Convention with perhaps rented delegates.
“In which case, the new leadership of the party to emerge out of such a process can only be surrogate leaders whose mission may simply be to ‘crown’ candidates for future elections. This has been the bane of our democracy and it is responsible for why internal democracy has eluded virtually all our parties in the country resulting in most of the avoidable leadership crisis.
“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.”
Lukman believed that the best route to addressing all the leadership challenges in APC is to find its bearing with reference to ensuring that the party is able to produce a credible and verifiable membership register.
“This is so fundamental and is in fact what should distinguish our party from all the other parties in the country. Any leader who is not comfortable means that such a leader doesn’t have respect for members and is unwilling to subordinate himself or herself to members. If a leader is unwilling to subordinate himself or herself to party members, why should anyone risk investing any superior elective political power to such a person?”