Battle within, hamper APC revalidation in Southsouth


The compulsory membership revalidation ordered nationwide by the National Caretaker Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has been slow and uninspiring in most of the Southsouth states. The slow pace of the exercise was reportedly caused by infighting among APC heavyweights, who were said to be dragging the leadership of various state chapters of the party in the zone. The development was also worsened by the existence of various camps and factions, whose members vehemently disagreed on the modalities for the exercise.

Controversy in Rivers:

In Rivers State, for instance, there were complaints that some members of the party loyal to Senator Magnus Abe were being denied revalidation. Notable party leaders loyal to Abe, who has been at loggerheads with the Rivers APC leader and Transportation Minister, Rotimi Amaechi had yet to present themselves for revalidation. An APC leader and a loyalist of Abe, who spoke in confidence, confirmed that Abe had yet to present himself for revalidation confirming that some members in the camp of the former senator were not allowed to partake in the exercise.

The source said even some persons in the camp of Amaechi out of leadership squabble had a problem doing their revalidation. If it were not for the intervention of Amaechi, according to the source, they would not have been able to register. For instance, he narrated how it took the intervention of Amaechi for the Chief Medical Director, University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH), Prof. Henry Ugboma, to register. Prof. Ugboma had been denied the opportunity to revalidate his membership because of his differences with another party leader, Atita O. Atita.

He said: “Our party is in trouble. There are people loyal to Abe that are being denied revalidation. They will come public and say allow everybody. But it is just for public consumption. If they could deny members of their faction the opportunity to register, what do you think would happen to those in Abe’s camp? Atita O. Atita is in a leadership tussle with Ugboma and when Ugboma came to register, they refused him. How do you expect them to register us? I am not keen on the revalidation exercise. Abe has not registered. The turnout is so low that they are worried. In most of the centres, there is nobody there. There is nothing Amaechi will do in Rivers APC that will bring unity because he himself is the divider. The distrust is heavily highlighted in the party.”

But, the Spokesperson of Rivers APC, Ogbonna Nwuke said the registration was smooth and that many people were still coming out to partake in the exercise. He said: “Quite a lot of people are registering or have revalidated already.  I think the performance in Rivers is very encouraging. As a party, we are not in a hurry to close the books and so our books are still open as we enter the final days of the exercise. In one sentence, we have surpassed our expectations.

“From the outset, given the surge, materials were supposed to be a challenge. The national secretariat quickly acted and sent in additional materials, which was immediately distributed to the field. The response we are getting is that those booklets are already filled not with ghost names, but humans who have turned out registration at the accreditation points to do the needful.”

Nwuke confirmed that the last time he checked Abe had yet to present himself for revalidation. He said those opposed to the exercise were standing on a false premise. He said: “I do not belong to his (Abe’s) unit in Gokhana. I have also not heard that he has presented himself for registration or revalidation.

Sabotage in Cross River:

In Cross River State, activities of saboteurs were said to be affecting the revalidation exercise. To tackle the development ahead of the April 21 final date of the exercise, the state chairman, Sen. Mathew Mbu (Jnr.) issued a public statement demanding the unconditional return of all materials given to field workers for the exercise. Mbu in the statement said: “We all know that no true party member can hold his party to ransom if he has the progress of his party at heart. This is coming on the heels of reports that some members have decided to hold back the materials for the membership registration and revalidation exercise for reasons that are inexcusable.

“We have through the State Publicity Secretary repeatedly urged that the said materials be returned to no avail except for a negligible few. I wish to direct for the umpteenth time that all Caretaker Committee Members should ensure that the materials are returned to the State Party Secretariat in Calabar on or before Saturday, April 17. 2021. I wish to state here and now that those who have failed to return theirs have done so deliberately as they have no justification for keeping the materials. It should be noted therefore that they constitute a hitch to the party’s success in their respective local government areas. Let me also inform you that we are currently collating the names of these persons and will at a time met out appropriate sanctions on them to serve as a deterrent to others who would in the future want to toe such rebellious lines.”

Earlier, the Public Secretary, Pastor Bassey Ita had issued a statement frowning on members working at cross purposes. Ita said: “Already, clandestine plots are being hatched to frustrate the ongoing registration exercise so their agenda might fester. We hereby call for caution as we will sanction all such elements. Many party members and stakeholders have aired their views in interactions on Social Media on the situation in the state”.

Most party members have voiced out their frustration over the plot to derail the registration and revalidation. A party leader, Ubi Etowa said: “Now, the truth is gradually coming out. What is the meaning of keeping APC, membership registration and revalidation exercise booklets and hardcover notebooks without returning same to the party?

“It only goes to show that there are so many APC leaders and supervisors, representing the interest of the PDP right inside our great party. We must fetch them out and expel them if we must win the 2023 governorship election.”

Another party chieftain, Okorie Egu also blamed the development on the failure to pay the allowances of persons undertaking the exercise. Appealing to the party to pay them, he said: “Please, let’s also appeal to the conscience of our party Caretaker Committee to do what they are required to do by ensuring that those who are all involved in the exercise are paid their due allowances for their participation in the exercise.”

Disagreements in Delta:

Despite the existence of different factions in Bayelsa State, indications emerging from the rank and file of the party were that the membership registration and revalidation were sailing smoothly. Though it was learnt that the materials for the exercise were under the control of loyalists of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, who is the party leader, the development did not deprive any members from revalidating their membership.

Immediate past chairman, Joseph Fafi said so far there had not been any hitches in the process. Although he agreed that there are some factions in the party, he nevertheless said it was not within the mandate of the ongoing exercise to resolve.

Fafi stated: “I have revalidated my membership. It is without hitches. In my local government, there are no hitches at all and I have not heard of any others in the state with hitches. We cannot say the exercise has united the party. We hope that the revalidation will bring about unity. It is until the ward, local government and state congresses are held and different groups in the party are able to harmonise their interests before we can talk about unity.”


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