The immediate past national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, on Tuesday said the on-going membership registration of the party is contrary to the party’s constitution.
Oshiomhole’s position is coming days after the pioneer chairman of the party, Chief Bisi Akande also faulted the exercise. The National Leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu had aligned with Akande’s position.
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The National Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee under the leadership of Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State has commenced the nationwide exercise to update the registers of the party across its chapters.
Buni’s committee was constituted in June last year after Oshiomhole, a loyalist of Tinubu, was sacked following the crisis that enveloped the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party.
Oshiomhole made his position known to journalists shortly after revalidating his membership of the party at Unit 1, ward 10, Iyamho, Etsako West LGA of Edo State.
He said: “APC is governed by a constitution and not by man, the constitution only provides for registration and I registered as a member of the APC in 2014 under the Interim national chairman, Chief Bisi Akande.
“There is nothing in the APC constitution that says a member shall revalidate or renew its membership. Once you register when you joined the party and you have not decamped, you are a member. So revalidation is strange to our constitution.
“I have only done this because I want peace to reign but in doing this, we have to be careful not to create a constitutional breach. So, when people talk about revalidation, we must begin to ask questions because people talk as if the party has no history.”
But Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, after revalidating his membership at his country home in Ward 1, Unit 3, Egunrege in Ikenne, Ikenne LGA of Ogun State, said the exercise is important for the party to identify and reach out to members, adding that APC is a grassroots party with focus on the welfare of the people.
“Party registration and revalidation is important because it offers us an opportunity to have a credible roll of members such that we can reach our members from the polling booth level all the way to the wards, local government and federal constituencies.
“The people are the party and the party is the people. Ours is a grassroots party. Our focus is on the welfare, prosperity and wellbeing of all our people,” Osinbajo said.
The VP, accompanied by Niger State Governor and National Chairman of the APC Registration and Revalidation Committee, Abubakar Sani Bello, was received at Mayflower Secondary School, Ikenne by Ogun State Governor Dapo Abiodun and former governor, Olusegun Osoba and other top members of the party.
On his part, Governor Bello said since 2014 when the party held a similar exercise, it had lost some members and gained others hence the imperative of the 2021 exercise.
Osoba noted that revalidation of Osinbajo’s membership of APC at his ward in Ikenne is historic as the town is the home of the progenitor of progressive politics, late Obafemi Awolowo.
In Ekiti State, Governor Kayode Fayemi pointed out that the divergent views expressed by Akande and Tinubu did not portray the exercise as unconstitutional or illegal.
Fayemi, who spoke at his country home, Isan Ekiti yesterday, after revalidating his membership at Ogilolo Ward 11 unit 09, Ekiti State, insisted that the exercise was not illegal.
“The APC Constitution in Article 9 stipulates that our register must be updated every six months. So, Baba Akande never said we should not register or revalidate our membership. He only tasked the leadership on the way it should be done to earn credibility.
“We don’t want to deregister anybody, let members revalidate their membership and those who are non-members but interested should also feel free to join us, that is what the exercise is all about,” he said.
Meanwhile, governors including Abdullahi Sule (Nasarawa), Muhammad Inuwa Yahaya (Gombe), Muhammad Badaru Abubakar (Jigawa), Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna), Babagana Zulum (Borno) and Abubakar Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), Tuesday revalidated their memberships at their respective polling units.