Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has called for the cancellation of the registration and revalidation exercise in Kwara State saying that it is a failure in the State.
Speaking on Monday in Oro in Irepodun Local Government Area of Kwara State after registration in Unit PU006, Oro Ward 2, the Minister said that the registration exercise did not follow the stipulated guidelines of the All Progressives Congress.
Mohammed said that the registration materials sent to the State were not delivered to the registration units while the seven-member committee headed by Senator John Danboi did not meet with the stakeholders of the party as they disappeared into thin air on arrival in the State.
He said , “ Since their arrival in Kwara State, the seven-member APC Membership Registration Committee for Kwara, led by Senator John Danboyi, seems to have gone underground. They have not had any useful interaction with lawful members of the State EXCO as well as party leaders and other stakeholders, including Local Government Chairmen and their executives and Ward Chairmen and their executives. These are lawfully-constituted party executives that the registration guidelines stipulate should not only be consulted but carried along during the exercise.
“The guidelines stipulate consultation with all stakeholders by the Registration Officials from Abuja. After the botched attempt to have a meeting of stakeholders, due to orchestrated violence, the Registration Officials failed to consult with all stakeholders before the commencement of the membership registration exercise, opting instead to work with only one of the four tendencies here in Kwara, the Fagbemi Group to which the Governor belongs, thus excluding the three other tendencies – The Akogun Group, the Gbemi Saraki Group and the Lai Mohammed Group, without which the ‘O To Ge’ Movement would not have succeeded.
“Ironically, the Fagbemi Group is the weakest of the four tendencies. Out of the 193 wards in the State, the group has only nine ward chairmen and does not have even one Local Government chairman. Even at the State EXCO, the Fagbemi group has only four members. Also, the recruitment of officials for the registration has been a one-sided affair and indications are that the hand-picked officials are under strict orders ‘from above’ as to how to carry out the exercise. We have evidence to corroborate this.
Mohammed who said that guidelines on the handling of registration materials were jettisoned said, “I regret to say that this particular provision of the guidelines was not complied with. When the Registration Officials from Abuja landed in Ilorin, they simply handed over the registration materials to an individual, not recognized by the provisions of the guidelines, who has decided to hoard them instead of distributing them to the wards.
“The implication is that the registration is being carried out without Party Membership Register, while temporary membership slips, to be signed and detached from the forms after registration, are not being given to those who have purportedly registered. According to our findings, since the commencement of the registration, over 80% of the registration units do not have either membership register or membership registration slip. In the few places where they are available, they are kept in private apartments of some political officeholders. In Baruten, the registration materials were handed over to the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, who is from there. In Oyun, the materials were given to one Olayiwola Ojo, a member of the State House of Assembly. I
“In Shao , in Northern Kwara, the registration materials were taken to the police station, where the DPO of that station presided over membership registration, in contravention of the party guidelines. It was only when the people mobilized against the use of the police station for registration that the illegality was stopped. What happened in Shao is the clearest indication yet that the police and other security agencies may be complicit in the mess being made of the membership registration in Kwara State”, he said.
He continued, “Instead of membership registers, conniving registration officials are using exercise books or foolscap sheets to register members. Even senior Kwara Government officials and State House of Assembly members were made to write their details in the exercise books or foolscap sheets, in clear violation of the guidelines.
“More worrisome is that members who have purportedly registered are being asked to come back for their registration slips. Till date, no such member has been given the registration slip. Even senior officials of the State Government, including Special Advisers, as well as House of Assembly members, have had to register using exercise books/foolscap sheets.”
The Minister said that critical stakeholders of APC in the State are now demanding “immediate cancellation of the APC Membership Registration Exercise in Kwara State and the putting in place of a process to ensure the conduct of a credible and fair exercise that will enjoy the support and confidence of all.
“The Immediate disbandment of the Senator John Danboyi-led Membership Registration Committee for Kwara State. A vast majority of the APC stakeholders in the State have lost confidence in the committee.
“The constitution of a fresh Membership Registration Committee that is truly independent, non-compromised and sensitive to the delicate diverse interests in the party.
“ A thorough investigation into the botched membership registration exercise by the Senator John Danboyi-led committee.
“That these demands are the irreducible minimum requirements for peace and progress in the Kwara APC.”