Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has alleged that a Divisional Police Officer (DPO) presided over the membership registration of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kwara North Senatorial District.
He called for the cancellation of the registration and validation exercise of the ruling APC in the State.
Mr Mohammed, at a press conference in his hometown, Oro, on Monday, said the officials sent to the state to conduct the exercise have violated the procedure set by the party.
He also accused the the seven-member APC Membership Registration Committee for Kwara, led by Senator John Danboyi, of incompetence.
“The guidelines are also clear on how registration materials are to be handed over and distributed. It says officials for the assignment are prohibited from handing over registration forms, other materials inclusive of registration data in a manner not prescribed by the exercise to unauthorised persons, and that the materials (forms, registers and others) are to be distributed directly to the Registration Officers, and records of the distribution are to be captured and reported accordingly.”
“Well, I regret to say that these particular provision of the guidelines were not complied with. When the Registration Officials from Abuja landed in Ilorin, they simply handed over the registration materials to an individual, not recognised by the provisions of the guidelines, who has decided to hoard them instead of distributing them to the wards (we also have evidence to back this up).
“In Shao, in Northern Kwara, the registration materials were taken to the police station, where the DPO of that station presided over membership registration, in contravention of the party guidelines. It was only when the people mobilized against the use of the police station for registration that the illegality was stopped. What happened in Shao is the clearest indication yet that the police and other security agencies may be complicit in the mess being made of the membership registration in Kwara State.
Registration slips kept in private apartment
“The implication is that the registration is being carried out without Party Membership Register, while temporary membership slips, to be signed and detached from the forms after registration, are not being given to those who have purportedly registered. According to our findings, since the commencement of the registration, over 80% of the registration units do not have either membership register or membership registration slip. In the few places where they are available, they are kept in private apartments of some political office holders. In Baruten, the registration materials were handed over to the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, who is from there. In Oyun, the materials were given to one Olayiwola Ojo, a member of the State House of Assembly.
“Gentlemen, instead of membership registers, conniving registration officials are using exercise books or foolscap sheets to register members. Even senior Kwara government officials and State House of Assembly members were made to write their details in the exercise books or foolscap sheets, in clear violation of the guidelines. We have pictorial and video evidence of this. More worrisome is that members who have purportedly registered are being asked to come back for their registration slips.
“Till date, no such member has been given the registration slip. Even senior officials of the State Government, including Special Advisers, as well as House of Assembly members, have had to register using exercise books/foolscap sheets (we have video and pictures to corroborate this). Also, due to the shoddy and non-compliant mode of registration, using exercise books and foolscap sheets instead of the membership register, many members are unwilling to submit their personal details via such unsecured and illegal process. The question to ask, gentlemen, is: Where are the Registration Materials that were brought to the state?
Many members can’t register
“Also in Irepodun, my local government, registration officials only showed up once and disappeared, making it impossible for many members to register. Also, even though the registration exercise was supposed to last two weeks, registration officials only showed up in many registration units for only one day. There is no stronger evidence of deliberate exclusion than this. Also, if the purpose of this registration exercise is to revalidate old members and register new ones, why then are people being prevented from registering? Meanwhile, members across the state who have complained about the non-compliance with the guidelines have been arrested and threatened with prosecution, while many have been beaten up. At the last count, over 100 of our members have had to been bailed from police stations.” He explained.