Prof. Oba AbdulRaheem has said the ongoing registration and revalidation of members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kwara is a policy designed to deregister and disenfranchise members of the party in the state.
Ibrahim, former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, former Executive Secretary of the Federal Character Commission and a leading politician in Kwara, spoke in an interaction with journalists at his Ajikobi Central Ward Polling Unit in Ilorin.
He said a large chunk of the party members were being deliberately disenfranchised from the exercise, adding that since the exercise began on Feb. 9, not a single registration official had been sighted at any of the nine polling units in his Ward, not to talk of registration materials.
Sen. Gbemi Saraki, the Minister of State for Transport, is also from Polling Unit 005 at Ode-Opobiyi in the Ajikobi Ward of Ilorin West Local Government Area.
AbdulRaheem, who was in company with many APC members from the Ward, explained the development called for a lot of concerns from the national level.
He spoke: "From what we are experiencing, it looks like it is an exercise in deregistration instead of registration and validation because the large chunk of the party members are being disenfranchised
“Like I said, this is Ajikobi Central Ward and it is the largest ward in the Ilorin West Local Government which is also the largest local government in the state.
“Since the beginning of the exercise, no material has been brought here and we do not know who are conducting the exercise.
“We just come here every morning and encourage our men and women to come over with the hope that we will be registered but we have not seen anybody.
“It is an exercise in deregistration and it is very sad and unfortunate that this is happening in Kwara.
“It is sad that Kwara has become a negative reference point in this matter, especially considering our political history,” he said.
He clarified in the 2019 General Electrons, the APC performed wonders in the state which no one expected in the country.
His words: “We upturned a forty-year old rule and political hegemony when we went into election in 2019 and won all the seats except one in the House of Assembly.
“We won from the Senate to House of Representatives, the State Assembly and the governorship.
“With that kind of achievement, we thought we deserve better treatment from the Executive of the state but unfortunately, we are not getting that,’’ he said.
AbdulRaheem gave his support to the call by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed for a cancellation of the registration for non-compliance with regulations set out by the party.
The Minister had at a media briefing in his home town, Oro, urged total cancellation of the exercise and putting in place of a process to ensure the conduct of a credible and fair exercise that would enjoy the support and confidence of all.
He requested the immediate disbandment of Sen. John Danboyi-led Membership Registration Committee and constitution of a fresh one that was truly independent, non-compromised and sensitive to the delicate diverse interests in the party
Corroborating the Minister’s position, AbdulRaheem said: “it is an exercise in deregistration which has auto-cancelled itself even before the call for its cancellation.
“If the idea of registration and revalidation is to grow the party, it is a wrong way to grow the party when you exclude potential members from registering and old members from getting revalidated.’’
He called on the national body of the party to quickly wade into the matter, cancel the registration and stop the party members from further disillusion.
On the cause of the internal crisis in the party in the state, AbdulRaheem said everything went wrong when the party jettisoned the principle of openness and rule of law in the selection process.
He equally attributed battle for 2023 elections by incumbent political office holders in the state for the hijack and charade in the registration and validation.
“This is unfortunate, because no one knows who will even live up to that 2023,
“You must not put your selfish interest over and above the consideration for growing democracy, good governance and bringing dividends of democracy to the people
“It is a short sighted rather than long sighted decision and it is very sad,” he said.
The Don, however, ruled out the claim that opposition might catch in on the crisis to take over the state in the 2023 elections.
“The opposition has their own problems and I don’t care about them.
“I only care about APC that if we grow the party, we have the support of the people and we are still intact no matter what is going on.
“Kwara is an APC state already and I don’t see it being taking over by opposition in spite of the crisis,’’ he said..
AbdulRaheem said the way out rested with the National Caretaker Committee which had the moral burden to actualise the basics of the party.
He said if the national body should ensure internal democracy, good governance and rule of law to prevail, the crisis would be resolved.