Bisi Akande, Odigie-Oyegun and Bola Tinubu
A former National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, has disagreed with critics of the ongoing membership registration and revalidation exercise embarked upon by the Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker/Extra-Ordinary National Convention Planning Committee.
Oyegun made his position known after pioneer Interim National Chairman of the APC, Chief Bisi Akande, and National leader Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu described the exercise as wasteful and unnecessary.
Akande had argued, “No population census is repeated within less than a decade and voters are not re-registered at every election.
“Within this context, I see the present APC membership registration within less than a decade after the original register as an indefensible aberration leading to certain ugly perceptions that the APC leadership might be wasteful and unappreciative of the proper use of money in a kind of scanty economy in which Nigeria now finds itself.
“These seeming ugly perceptions put into abeyance the applause of the two national election successes that the original APC register enjoyed since its completion on 15th February 2014 and the over N1bn of 2014 value that the original register cost when the APC had no money of its own.”
Tinubu, however, backed Akande by saying “Since we have a foundation and that foundation is on which the structure up till the present was built at the time of the registration of this party, I will not fault Baba Akande’s position; I will not but endorse it.”
However, Odigie-Oyegun, who spoke with Punch, justified the actions of the Governor Buni-led committee.
He described the exercise as a necessary step to clean up the party register and provide a level playing field for all members.
He said, “People have moved in the party across the board; some moved to the front and some to the back. We need to know those who are truly in the APC to avoid a repeat of some of the mistakes that were made in the past.”
Asked if he was responding to concerns raised by Akande, Odigie-Oyegun said, “You don’t use party registration to win elections. The people of the country, 95 percent of who are not members of the party, are the ones that decide who wins the elections, not the party members. It goes beyond party membership. If you put together the number of members of our political parties, they are not more than 12 million. The caretaker committee has very good reasons to carry out the membership registration and revalidation, let us all support them and let us get it over with and move on. I don’t see it doing any member or prospective member any harm whatsoever.”