By Tunde Opalana
The new registration and validation of members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) which will commence across the country soon has been described as prerequisite for the expected national convention of the party.
A valid membership register, according to some stakeholders in the party is compulsory in democracies across the world for the conduct of conventions and congresses.
At a meeting Thursday night, the stakeholders under the umbrella of the joint Forum of State Chairmen and Forum of Non-National Working Committee NEC members of APC, said membership register of parties ought to be updated every six months.
Addressing journalists after meeting, the immediate past National Vice Chairman (North East) of APC, Comrade Salihu Mustapha after the meeting said the greatest mandate for the National Caretaker / Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee is putting together a comprehensive membership register for the party.
The forum consequently watered down the allegation that the Caretaker Committee seeks tenure elongation through the membership registration exercise.
Mustapha who is patron of joint Forum of State Chairmen of APC and NoN-NWC NEC members of the APC insisted that the Mai Mala Buni led Caretaker Committee cannot be said to be seeking tenure extension because it was not an elected body. Answering questions, he said “in line with what I just answered, there are prerequisites to this convention.
There are things we need to achieve before we get to that convention. First of all like the membership registration, there is no party that will exist without standard registration.
“We have registration before the constitution says we should update our register six months, every six months.
We are going to now do a general update and the revalidation of our own register which has been since 2014.
This is now the biggest mandate which this Caretaker Committee has after which we will now rejig this party.
“When we are saying rejig we will do some reaffirmation from bottom to top which will now culminate into the national convention.
There are some prerequisite we need to do before we get to convention so we will not want to put the cart before the horse.
Now we’re taking about registration, we will take them one at a time. “When we finish registration will we talk about how we are going to rejig the party, we will see the reaffirmations within the ward, local governments and states then we will now culminate into the convention and then we’ll now have a solid, one, indivisible party”.
The forum cautioned members in certain quarters not to disrupt the peace in the party with debate over tenure elongation for the Caretaker Committee.
Mustapha said “ I don’t know what you are talking about tenure elongation. In the first place, the Caretaker Committee doesn’t have tenure, they only have timeline to actualize the mandate given to them.
They don’t have tenure because they’re not voted for.
“Tenure as defined by our constitution is when you are being voted for, but these ones were appointed to actualize certain goals and these goals are not actualize yet, they are in the process so the timeline will continue until these deliverables are being actualize.
“If there is need for extension to actualize these goals they will get extension from the National Executive Council (NEC) and they will continue until they actualize this”. Speaking on the purpose of the meeting, he said the joint stakeholders meeting is just for consultation.
“We call it joint meeting, this is second of its kind where the Forum of State Chairmen, forum of nonNWC NEC members come together, deliberate on issues bordering on their welfare, their job security and also the progress of the party and the country at large.
“This meeting is highly symbolic with regards to unity of the party. I as the parton of the joint Forum convene this meeting and I convene this meeting like eight months ago here in this Hotel (Barcelona).
“If you people remember we have serious tussle within NWC that time and we declined giving any press statement because of the sensitive nature of the time but this time around that we have unity in the party we have the effrontery to come out and stand before camera to tell you that we are one united family.
“You see there is no part of this country that is not represented in the non-NWC NEC members and the Forum of State Chairmen. This is a welcome development and for the first time we have such attendance.
“This meeting falls on the very core of our existence. Let me use this opportunity to tell you that this gathering is very impressed because of the unity of our party. The unity of our party is important to us.
“We must join our hands together like the symbol of the group, we must join together to show strength and it is very important.
If we have the number then we have the strength. Politics is about number, it’s a game of number.
“Today we are here because we want our number to count.
The only way our number can count is for us to agree to work together and the only way we can work together is for us to throw away our past grievances and come and support our party to grow and the strength of our party.
In attendance were the representative of the Extraordinarily Caretaker Committee in person of Professor Tahir Mamman, SAN who we deliberate gave legal support to harmonize and streamline the transition processes of the Caretaker Committee.
Also were three state governors, Atiku Bagudu if Kebbi, Yahaya Bello of Kogi and Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa, and the leadership of the Progressive Governors Forum.