Lai Mohammed, a Minister of Information and Culture on Monday called for the cancellation of the ongoing All Progressive Congress (APC) membership registration and revalidation exercise in Kwara State.
Lai Mohammed made this known in a press briefing held in his home town, Oro in Irepodun Local Government Area after registration in Unit PU006, Oro Ward 2.
Speaking with the press the Minister said that the registration exercise did not follow the stipulated guidelines and procedure set by the party.
He 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.
The minister 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.
“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”.
It could be recalled that the lingering crisis in the party centred on a rift between Governor AbdulRazaq and a group of party leaders led by Lai Mohammed.
It recently escalated when Bashir Bolarinwa, who is a loyalist of Lai Mohammed, was removed as the party chairman and replaced with Abdullahi Samari.
Although the national body and executives of the North Central zone of the party have intervened in the matter, they are yet to achieve reconciliation of the warring members.