All may not be well within the ranks of Nigeria’s ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) over the ongoing membership revalidation exercise.
The exercise runs from February 2nd to February 16, 2012 all over the country.
Though the exercise is seen by many as a routine, reports and findings by ND REPORTERS suggest that there may be some undercurrent factors playing out that may lead to crisis.
It would be recalled that the former interim National Chairman of the party, Chief Bisi Akande had faulted the exercise, describing it as a waste.
Akande, who spoke to journalists when he went to be revalidated in his home-town, Ila Orangun, Osun State, said that it was ”an indefensible aberration leading to certain ugly perceptions.”
Speaking further, Akande carpeted the Caretaker Committee of the party when he said most “aberrant authorities” always end up in contempt and disgrace.
Two days after Akande’s condemnation of the exercise, a former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, said he fully endorsed what the former Osun State Governor said.
Tinubu, famously referred to as the National Leader of the APC, said: “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.
“What we are doing now is a matter of addition and subtraction, free entry and free exit.
“You have joined a particular party; you have decided to leave that party. You have equal opportunity for new members to join and update the existing register of the party.”
He also insisted that the party’s register submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has not been invalidated to call for a new one.
Similarly, the immediate former National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, also condemned the exercise, calling it unconstitutional.
Speaking to journalists on Tuesday after partaking in the exercise at his Unit 1, ward 10, Iyamho, Etsako West Local Government Area of Edo State, Oshiomhole said that the party is not governed by man but its constitution, which only provides for registration.
“I have only done this because I want peace to reign but in doing this, we have to be careful not to create constitutional breach.
“If you ask me as a foundation member who has never decamped to revalidate my membership, it is double registration because there is nothing like revalidation in our constitution.”
Sources within and outside the party confided in ND REPORTERS that the condemnation of the exercise by Akande, Tinubu and Oshiomhole, who are all founding fathers of the party and important stakeholders, is an indication of a brewing crisis, one that has so much to do with controlling the soul of the party and by extension, the politics of 2023 presidential election.
A political commentator, Johnson Kukumo, who spoke to ND REPORTERS, insisted that Akande, Tinubu and Oshiomhole can see beyond what the party’s caretaker committee would want others to see.
“They are seeing beyond the ordinary; they see an attempt by some forces opposed to whatever agenda they have for the party to hijack it and dictate what happens come 2023. It is not a coincidence that it is only the trio, who are staunch allies that have voiced out their opposition. They seem to understand the game plan, and like Oshiomhole, the membership revalidation exercise may endanger a constitutional crisis in the party”, Kokumo said.
A chieftain of the party in Lagos State, who spoke to ND REPORTERS under the condition of anonymity, said the membership revalidation exercise is a targeted one and many of them, who are supporters of Tinubu understand the game plan.
According to him, it is simply because of their understanding of the undercurrents that they are mobilising their members to partake in the exercise in their numbers.
“We cannot leave anything to chances. Our opponents and the masterminds of the exercise would have wanted us to boycott it in annoyance but we shall not give them that luxury. This is all about 2023, we know assuredly”, the APC chieftain said.
Sources close to the party also believe the recent activities of a former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode calls for concern, as it may after all be part of the jokers the party leaders have for 2023.
It would be recalled that Fani-Kayode has lately been visiting leaders of the ruling party, including the National Caretaker Committee Chairman, Governor Mai Mala Buni, the Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello and Senator Smart Adeyemi.
Though the former minister has denied plans to join APC from the PDP, the Kogi State Governor, in a viral video circulating online, announced that Fani-Kayode approached him on his decision to decamp and he has been accepted into the party.
Sources in the party believe that the meetings with APC leaders on one and former President, Goodluck Jonathan on the other hand, is an indication that something big is in the offing and that Fani-Kayode is merely troubleshooting.
It would be recalled that there had been reports linking Jonathan with the presidential ticket of the APC come 2023. Though the party has come out to deny it, party sources say it is a normal thing for the such denials to be made.