APC'S DRESS REHEARSAL FOR 2015 RIGGING
Someone has suggested that perhaps the All Progressives Congress (APC) plans to cook up bogus figures as the number of its registered members, but I must disagree with that weak position.
It is obvious that in the game of cooking up figures or rigging elections before the actual rigging, every party is good at the game.
So all that the ruling party and other existing parties need to do is to take a hard look at the laws of the land and find a window that will enable them to review their membership list and also post cooked up figures.
After all, this is Nigeria, where, as they say, everything goes.
At the end of the day, what we may have are registered members that will exceed the registered voters, or even the population of Nigeria; then the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), or even the National Population Commission (NPC), which is in possession of the demographics, will be forced to step in.
In my neighbourhood, I was shocked to see staunch Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) apologists getting registered under the APC, and when I ventured to ask, I was not surprised that the politics of the stomach informed decisions in the on-going exercise.
Others were even registering immature children just to swell figures, and I began to wonder if the PDP had not met its match in the APC.
That would not be a surprise since all the riggers had left the PDP for the APC.
The newspapers and social media are replete with wonderful stories of the exercise including that fabulous reason given by the party for extending the exercise by two extra days.
The party is suggesting that it underestimated the love of Nigerians for it; so it is extending to give everyone a chance to become a member.
Hogwash, if the stories in the public domain are anything to go by.
According to the Daily Trust newspaper, crisis erupted in local chapters because of dispute over control of the party's membership registration exercise.
The paper said: "The national headquarters sent 100 membership slips to each of the 120,000 polling units around the country.
Members who register now would participate in electing the party's executives at ward, local government and national levels next month.
But in many states, powerful groups in the party hijacked the registration materials with their eyes on gaining control of the party structures ahead of the congresses.
"In many places, limited number of slips was provided at the polling units while the remaining (slips) were hoarded by powerful elements and their loyalists.
States where hijack of materials was reported include Kebbi, Bauchi, Adamawa, Yobe, Borno, Rivers and Ogun.
People who register as members during this exercise would constitute the electorate for the coming congresses beginning on March 3.
Politicians, now hijacking the membership slips, use their agents to go house-to-house and to other discreet places to register their loyalists, thereby depriving other prospective members who troop out to the designated registration centres.
"Because of these, many prospective members have not been able to register since the exercise began on Wednesday, forcing the party's national secretariat to extend the exercise by two days.
The national secretariat yesterday acknowledged receiving complaints, but said these would not be enough to vitiate the exercise.
Interim national secretary Tijjani Musa Tumsah confirmed to Daily Trust by telephone yesterday that the national secretariat received such reports.
But he said any plan to manipulate the registration exercise to favour any politicians in the congresses would fail as the membership registration exercise would be continuous.
" This coming from the same man that was accused by the National Vice Chairman, Duhu, of presiding over a sham imposition of an interim executive in Borno State! How can he explain cases of snatching of registration materials and fighting by opposing factions? It is becoming increasingly clear that the APC is not the messiah party it claims to be, because what is emerging is a dress rehearsal of how the party will behave in the 2015 elections.
Or, put more appropriately, how the parties that coalesced to form the APC have behaved in past elections.
There have been reports of some state governments employing less than decent tactics to force civil servants and residents into this so-called choice party, but the question remains, if this is the alternative to the so-described mess in the PDP, where do we go from here? To another party, or the so-called devil we know? It is not only in General Mohammadu Buhari's Katsina State that there are issues.
Even in the Asiwaju's backyard, there are sorry tales.
A PDP chieftain in Lagos, Chief Olabode George, alleged that traders in Lagos markets were being forced to register as members of the APC, though, according to the Tribune, he asked traders in the state to ignore a purported directive that stalls of those who failed to partake in the ongoing nationwide membership registration exercise by APC should be shut.
In its laughable statement on the reasons for the extension of the registration exercise, the famous APC spin doctor, Lai Mohammed, delusively applauded the acceptance of the party by the good people of Nigeria, whatever that means, and went on with the reason for the two days extra for the exercise.
"Even with one day to go in the original registration schedule, we have exceeded the number of members we set out to register, and many more have reached out to us to give them the opportunity to join the APC train of change, hence our decision to extend the registration," Mohammed said.
And to give the spin a colourful dimension, he went for the point of least resistance, accusing the PDP of sabotage in some states.
But what about the reports of in-fighting making nonsense of the well-thought out exercise? Lai has to do better than this lame propaganda or risk some gears getting into reverse.
Written By Mustapha Abdullahi [email protected]