Valid membership register necessary before APC convention ― Lukman, DG, PGF
• Asks aggrieved chieftains to initiate court action
Director-General of the Progressive Governors Forum, Salihu Mohammed Lukman, has backed the initiative of the interim leadership of the All Progressives Congress to conduct membership register of the party faithful across the country before convening a meeting of the National Convention.
Certain chieftains of the party have expressed their reservations and dismissed it as a ploy for tenure elongation by the National Caretaker Committee led by Yobe state governor, Mallam Mai Mala Buni.
Lending his voice in support of the membership register, the Director-General of the APC Governors Forum argued that the collation of members of the party was a sufficient legal condition before the meeting of its highest, the national convention.
He said: “Without credible and verifiable membership, there is practically no party organ, there can only be illegitimate leaders and therefore illegal delegates to any National Convention. As party members, we should be able to summon the confidence to prove this in any court of law.
“While it is important to appreciate the need to ensure that the provisions of our party’s constitution are respected by everyone, especially the Caretaker Committee, which has the difficult responsibility of resolving our leadership challenges, it is important that the right thing is done to lay the solid democratic foundation for our party.
“How can any organ of the party claim any legitimacy when the membership of the party is suspect? If the membership of the party is suspect, the legitimacy of delegates who will attend the National Convention will be also suspect. This is because, for instance, Article 9.4 of the APC constitution specifically provide that a register of members shall be compiled and maintained at the Ward level and be transmitted to the Secretariat of the party at Local Government Area, which shall transmit a copy to the National Secretariat. Provided that the party shall update its membership records every six months and remit updated copies to appropriate Secretariats.
“Thereafter, it shall be the responsibility of a member to ensure that his or her name is duly entered in the Ward Register.
“When was the last time anybody was registered as APC member in any part of the country? When was the last time any ward in the country transmitted to any Local Government Secretariat and/or Local Government transmitted any copy to National Secretariat? Yet, our party’s constitution provides that membership records should be updated every six months. How can any leader even attempt to raise questions about why we should have membership registration/verification?”
Lukman further claimed that certain leaders of the party bent on foisting their stooges as party leaders were the ones kicking against the scheduled party membership register.
“One will expect any leader of the party with any claim of being a progressive or even democratic politician to welcome the need to have membership registration/verification ahead of the APC National Convention. In fact, even after membership registration/verification, before we can satisfy that there are legal delegates for any National Convention, APC would require Ward, Local Government and State Congresses.
“These Congresses need to hold ahead of the National Convention to affirm that the delegates to attend the National Convention have the authority of party members. With such reality, the debate should be about how to conduct both the membership registration and congresses in ways that assist in resolving the lingering leadership crisis in the party.
“Since the reported decision to commence the process of membership registration/verification by the APC National Caretaker Committee, there have been media reports threatening legal actions to block the Caretaker Committee from organising the process.
“Some of the threats even go as far as claiming that the only mandate given to the Caretaker Committee led by His Excellency, Mai Mala Buni is to organise a National Convention in December 2020. In other words, the mandate does not cover membership registration, and should the Caretaker Committee go ahead with the planned membership registration, notice of court action is being presented.
According to them, the Caretaker Committee has up to December 2020 “to do the needful or be chased out.”