APC steps up reconciliation as membership registration starts today

Ahead of the All Progressives Congress membership registration, which starts today (Tuesday), the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker/ Extra-Ordinary National Convention Planning Committee, has intensified efforts to reconcile members of the party.

The APC interim committee led by Buni reconciled factions in the Zamfara State chapter of the party on Monday when it brokered a peace deal between the two factions.

Buni held a closed-door meeting with the leaders of the two factions, ex-governor Abdulaziz Yari and Senator Kabiru Marafa, at the APC National Secretariat, Abuja.

A source privy to the discussions who also spoke in confidence said, “The two leaders under Buni’s guidance held very frank discussions and agreed to work together to rebuild the party in the state. They all committed to ensuring a peaceful conduct of the membership registration which is a prerequisite for congresses.”

Addressing reporters’ journalists after the meeting, Buni, described the reconciliation as a significant milestone for the APC.

He said, “As you can see today, we are able to achieve reconciliation of our stakeholders in Zamfara State and by extension is the reconciliation of the entire Zamfara APC as a family.”

On his part, Yari said the factions had buried their differences and resolved to work together as a family to avoid the repeat of such political tsunami that “befell APC in Zamfara in the 2019 general election.”

Also, Marafa said, “Today marks the very beginning in the chapter of APC in Zamfara State and I hope, given the assurances that I heard from various speakers during the meeting that at the end of the tunnel we would see light.”

As part of measures to ensure a hitch-free exercise in Katsina State, the State Governor, Aminu Masari warned party members in the state against breaking into factions.

He issued the warning during the party’s stakeholders meeting held at the Katsina Government House, on Monday.

Masari said, “Anyone here who doesn’t know the party constitution should go and read it.

“I swear, I will not tolerate factionalism of the party in President Muhammadu Buhari’s home state. This is impossible. I can personally agree to be confronted or challenged on wrong doings so I can apologize, but we have two responsibilities here on our shoulder.

“Number one, the current state administration in Katsina is APC and that the Nigerian President is an indigene of Katsina produced by the APC. He deserves solidarity and hospitality from you.”

The PUNCH correspondent gathered that Masari’s threat was informed by speculations about infighting within the state chapter of the party.  It was learnt that no fewer than five factions held meetings within and outside Katsina over the weekend.

The Chairman, APC Registration Committee, Lagos State, Dr Mohammed Bashir, assured leaders and party members of a transparent exercise.

Bashir spoke on Monday during a registration committee meeting with stakeholders in the state at the party APC secretariat in Lagos.

He also appreciated members of the party executive for moving the state forward through what he called provision of infrastructure for the people.

Bashir said, “The APC has come to the grass-roots to register fresh members. The exercise will be transparent, “ urging the stakeholders to do the right thing.

On his part, the Chairman, Lagos APC Caretaker Committee, Tunde Balogun, said that the exercise had brought some controversies within the party.

Balogun stated, “There has been apprehension from members.

I want to assure members that the exercise will be seamless, transparent and all-inclusive.

In Ogun State, party supporters, who claimed to be loyal to former governors Segun Osoba and Ibikunle Amosun, on Monday expressed readiness to take part in the exercise.

This is even as the state party leadership gave assurances that it would be fair to every member and would-be members.

Secretary of the group, which claimed to Osoba loyalists, Nurudeen Olaleye, said, “We belong to Olusegun Osoba, he is our leader. They may want to pretend to the world that there is no faction, in actual sense, we have factions. We are in all the local governments. We are participating fully.”

A source within Amosun’s camp who spoke on condition anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media said, “The fact remains that every APC member will either revalidate or register afresh.

“So, except anyone who does not want to be part of APC. Every APC member is going to be part of it. Those that are in APM had to leave the party for APC because of the registration exercise so that they can all get registered. We all know the circumstance that led them to APM.”

Secretary of the APC caretaker committee in the state, Ayo Olubori while speaking to one of our correspondents on Sunday said, “We are not aware of these loyalists, we are only interested in those that are loyal to the party.

“There will be no discrimination even, at the national level there will be sanction to anyone who discriminates or prevents anybody from registering as members of the party. Nobody is going to be discriminated against.”

In Cross River state, a former state APC Chairman, John Ochala in an interview with The PUNCH, in Calabar said, “We will be on ground effectively by Tuesday in all the wards and units. We are using Saturday and Sunday to distribute materials and by Monday materials must have got to all wards and units and then by Tuesday, there will be physical registration. We are on course the way it was planned.”

Party stakeholders in Oyo State also announced their preparedness to participate in the nationwide exercise in order to position the APC to reclaim the state in future elections.

The leaders pledged to cooperate with party officials to make a success of the exercise during a meeting held at the party’s state secretariat at Oke-Ado, Ibadan, on Monday.

Those who attended the event included: former Oyo State Governor, Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala; Minister of Sport and Youth Development, Mr. Sunday Dare; and representative of Oyo Central Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Senator Teslim Folarin, among others.

In his address at the occasion, Alao-Akala said, “We must swing into action immediately as we have no luxury of time ahead of the next general election during which we must do everything humanly possible to reclaim power in Oyo state.

“As much as we are ready to mobilize for the success of the party’s membership registration and revalidation exercise, we also need to take a step further by setting appropriate modalities in place for party faithful to work together as a family and dislodge the PDP from power.”

The Sports Minister noted that the meeting was important at this critical time, saying all hands must be on deck to save the state from the clutches of the PDP.

<<Punch>>