By Kamarudeen Ogundele & Tunde
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has mocked the All Progressives Congress (APC) over its membership registration drive, saying that its three weeks extension will not change the public rejection that greeted the exercise and the APC as a party.
The PDP said the APC had become embarrassed following serious confusion and violent disagreements in the party, adding that the plot to announce humongous fictitious figures and presenting a heavily padded membership register had become a mess.
This is as the APC Caretaker Committee chairman in Kwara, Bashir Bolarinwa, and the Publicity Secretary of the party in the state, Alhaji Tajudeen Aro, have disagreed over the conduct of the exercise.
While Bolarinwa described the membership registration and validation exercise in the state as a sham, Aro in a reaction said only enemies of the party would not approve of it.
Bolarinwa condemned the exercise at his hometown, Agbeku, in Ifelodun Local Government Area of the state where he alleged its manipulation by the Senator John Damboyiled committee registration committee.
He told newsmen that 12 days after the commencement of the exercise, registration officials showed up at his unit for the first time on Sunday.
The chairman lamented that majority of members of APC in Kwara were denied registration, which he said was against the guidelines and directives of the party. He said the situation was not peculiar to his town and unit, but was applicable to the 16 local government areas of the state.
“In the entire Ifelodun Local Government Area, it has been complaints galore. In Offa, registration exercise has not taken place, so it is at Isin, Irepodun, Oyun, Ekiti and in Oke Ero local government areas.
“In Kwara Central Local Government Area and in the Ilorin West Local Government Area, the home area of the governor, there was no registration, so also in Ilorin South, Ilorin East and Asa and major parts of Kwara North.
“We have called on the Senator Damboyiled committee to do something about it; we have made noise; we have written letters, but it appeared that all we have said fell on deaf ears.
“Since the day the committee came into this state it has shown bias, “There was stakeholders’ meeting to which we were invited, but we were chased out of the place.
We knew it was going to be like this and when we told the committee chairman that we were out to assist him, he dismissed us,’’ Bolarinwa said.
He said it was unfortunate that rather than helping to increase membership of the party, some people, he did not identify, decided to deregister members.
“I am using this opportunity to complain to the national leadership of our party to send another team to oversee the registration in Kwara State,’’ he said, noting that in 2018, he conducted a similar exercise and it was a huge success.
“It was that registration exercise which we conducted without a hitch that actually provided the foundation for the victory which we recorded; it was the foundation that made APC to become the ruling party in Kwara today,’’ he added.
Attempt to get the reaction of Sen Damboyi for his comment was not successful as he neither answered calls to his phone nor responded to text messages.
In his reaction, Alhaji Aro said those accusing the senator of partisanship were not fair to him and to the people of Kwara who voted for APC.
“There was never any incidence of violence. If you go to the registration units, the registers are already full and people are still willing to register.
“I don’t know the justification for accusing the Senator Damboyi-led committee as being biased and calling for the cancellation of the exercise that has been going on peacefully,” he said.
Aro said it was party members that were not on the same page with Governor AbdulRahaman AbdulRazaq that were complaining about the exercise.
“Unfortunately and ironically, these people registered before they started calling for the cancellation of the exercise.
They are not fair to their followers,’’ he stressed. Aro called on the people of Kwara who had not registered to come out massively and register, adding that they should disregard the campaign of calumny against the committee.
Meanwhile, the PDP in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said it was already aware of the confusion in the APC after a genuine report from the field indicated a huge reduction in APC membership profile.
The party claimed that more than half of “APC members across the federation refused to revalidate their membership while most regular Nigerians who they approached, responded with vehement apathy.”
The statement added, “Nigerians are also aware of the bitter disagreement among desperate APC power mongers from Kogi, Lagos and Kaduna states over allocation of membership figures as well as location for final compilation of APC fictitious membership inventory.
“The public now know why the APC desperately sidestepped its original membership register, in the fraudulent exercise, as revealed by the recent outburst of the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed.
“It is indeed instructive that Nigerians have rejected the APC despite being lured with money in Taraba, Kogi, Imo, Kaduna and other states; despite the threats in Kano as well as attempt at night registration in Enugu and some other states.
“Such rejection only goes to validate the fact that majority of Nigerians are not ready to dine on the same table with the APC, even with the longest of spoons.”
The PDP counseled the APC not to waste time with the “shenanigan of an extension” as such could not change the reality of their rejection by Nigerians.
It stated that the APC had brought so much devastation, pain and anguish and had nothing to offer for the future of the nation.
“The PDP appreciated the overwhelming support it party has been receiving from Nigerians in the national consensus to rescue the nation from the misrule of the APC by reelecting the PDP come 2023, so as to return the nation to the path of peace, national cohesion and economic prosperity,” the statement added.