A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, and Director General of the Progressive Governors Forum, PGF, Dr. Salihu  Lukman, has disabused the minds of the public not to think that APC leaders like Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Chief   Bisi Akande are against the ongoing nationwide membership registration exercise

  Dr. Lukman was speaking against the backdrop of recent comments credited to Tinubu and Akande over their a reservation for the ongoing exercise.

Akande had last Thursday faulted the creation of the party’s caretaker and extra-ordinary convention planning committees and also picked holes in the ongoing exercise initiated by the committee, saying the registration is wasteful, a position supported by Tinubu.

He also berated the Caretaker Executive Committee constituted by President Muhammadu Buhari last year, saying most aberrant authorities always end up in contempt and disgrace.

The PGF boss in a statement issued and made available to newsmen Sunday in Abuja said part of what should be the focus of the debate now around the APC membership registration/revalidation exercise should be about what needs to be done to ensure that the current exercise and the new register of members of the party after the exercise is not in any way or form in disagreement with the old register.

 Lukman stated that with all leaders of the party, including Chief Akande and Asiwaju Tinubu accepting to revalidate their membership, the message is that every party member should revalidate his/her membership.

He added that there is no better evidence today that all APC leaders are united other than the ongoing membership registration/revalidation exercise.

“Our APC leaders may have all their different political permutations. But they are united in the fact that for their permutation to come with strong electoral prospects, the development of the party, APC, especially in terms of its membership is an important precondition. Above all, the freedom of members to aspire for leadership positions must not be constrained by the undemocratic factors of imposition familiar to our politics in Nigeria.

“What is very clear is that all leaders of the APC are interested in the success of the membership registration/revalidation exercise. The expectation is that it will produce more members and whatever is the problem associated with the old membership register will be resolved. Part of what every progressive democrat in APC will have to address is to ensure democratic control of the APC membership register.

“To be able to exercise democratic control should mean that the register is retrievable and can be update almost similar to what obtains in INEC in the case of voters register. In this day and age, with all the advancement in technology, it should be possible to have a virtual interface that linked the membership database in the National Secretariat with all our wards, local governments and states such that it can be updated with ease.

“This raises the question of what mechanism exist in the party to guarantee that the National Secretariat of the party is democratically controlled. How is it supervised and who is it accountable to? These need to be determined beyond assumptions.

“Part of what should be acknowledged is that membership registration/revalidation is a determining condition for the Caretaker Committee to bring the party back to democratic control by members. How can this be guaranteed when for instance the structure that controls the membership of the party is weakly controlled by leaders of the party? Part of the ongoing debate around the APC membership registration/revalidation should be how to strengthen the Secretariat of the party and make it accountable to organs of the party and not just individual leaders.”

Lukman said the reality of conducting the exercise manually with limited deployment of technology, if any at all, must be a source of concern for every party leader.

“Given the manual way the exercise is being handled, how is it going to be insulated from being controlled by some individual leaders of the party? Getting leaders and members to have confidence and own the process will require some consideration during statutory meetings of structures of the party. It is not simply about the legitimacy of decisions of the National Chairman or even the Caretaker Committee.”

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