By Wole Adedeji, Ilorin
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Monday registered and revalidated his membership of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Oro; his country home in Kwara State.
However, the minister called for the cancellation of the same APC registration/revalidation that he did along with others across the state by the party.
Speaking at a press briefing he addressed shortly after he registered in his homestead, the minister condemned the entire process of the registration by the Senator John Danboyi-led seven-man committee.
The minister, who had been at logger head with Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq for quite some time, leading to the factionalisation of the APC in Kwara State, complained that the Danboyi Committee flagrantly flouted the regulations of the party in conducting the registration and validation of members, including non-consulting stakeholders of the party in the state before the exercise proper.
He demanded for the outright cancellation of the exercise, even when he had just participated in it.
Among his demands, which were in the press statement he read at the briefing were: “immmediate 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, because ‘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.”
Alhaji Mohammed, whose faction and that of Governor AbdulRazaq had been holding each other by the jugular, because of their intra party crisis said that their “demands are the irreducible minimum requirements for peace and progress in the Kwara APC.”
Accusing the Danboyi-led committee of compromise and flagrant disobedience to regulations for the exercise, Alhaji Mohammed said that the reports from the monitoring teams revealed that the whole exercise, which started on February 9, did not comply with the stipulated guidelines.
He said, “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,
“They opted instead to work with only one of the four tendencies here in Kwara, the Fagbemi Group, to which the governor belongs.
“They excluded 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.”
The minister said that the Fagbemi group had only four members at the State Executive Council level; adding that the recruitment of officials for the registration exercise had been a one-sided affair.
Adding that contrary to the party’s guidelines, the registration officials from Abuja, on getting to Ilorin, had handed over the registration materials to an individual not recognised by the provisions of the guidelines, Alhaji Mohammed said that those who were given the materials also decided to hoard them instead of distributing them to the wards.
The minister said that apart from the committee flouting the guidelines regarding distribution of materials for the exercise, “the guidelines are also clear on how registration materials are to be handed over and distributed. It says officials for the assignment are prohibited from handing over registration forms, other materials inclusive of registration data in a manner not prescribed by the exercise to unauthorized persons, and that the materials (forms, registers and others) are to be distributed directly to the registration officers, and records of the distribution are to be captured and reported accordingly.”