This Day (Lagos)

Nigeria: Membership Registration - Nigerians Have Rejected APC, Declares PDP

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Monday criticised the All Progressives Congress (APC) over the extension of its membership registration, saying it was a sign that Nigerians had rejected the opposition party.

The APC, which had accused the PDP of trying to sabotage its membership drive, had on Sunday extended the exercise, initially billed to end yesterday, by two days to enable those who have not registered to do so.

But the ruling party derided the APC's action and commended Nigerians for shunning the membership registration, prompting the opposition party to extend the exercise.

The APC also got more knocks from former Kano State Governor, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau and former Sokoto State Governor, Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa, who described the party as a fraud. In its criticism of the extension of the APC's membership registration, the PDP, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Olisa Metuh, said the development had shown that Nigerians were not fooled by attempts by the opposition party to hoodwink them, undermine the electoral process and coax unsuspecting Nigerians to register as members by portraying the exercise as voter registration, being conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) .

The party said: "This is the first sign of rejection for the boastful APC. It is a clear indication that the party is neither on ground nor does it command the followership its claims. They have now seen that true membership and public support are not secured through media hype and propaganda.

"It beats imagination that the APC is making a mountain out of a molehill over ordinary membership registration. Besides our great party, other opposition political parties have hitherto successfully conducted the same exercise without overheating the polity as the APC unnecessarily does at the moment."

Accusing the APC of constituting nuisance in the political landscape, the PDP advised it to learn to be more humble, adding that arrogance and pride could cause the party's defeat in the general election.

The opposition party also came under fire yesterday from Shekarau and Bafarawa, who recently defected from the party to the PDP. They described APC as a political fraud because it has no constitution and manifesto.

Shekarau, at his formal declaration for PDP in Abuja, said: "There is no substantive leadership of APC nationwide. There is nothing like executive committee in the APC at any level. We challenged the leadership of the APC to show the constitution of the party; it is a secret document, it is not on the streets. We challenge the APC to disclose openly the manifesto of the party; it is not on the streets. Why are they not rolling out the programmes for election of officers of the party? It (APC) is a political fraud and we will not be part of it.

"There is nowhere in the constitution of the APC where it is said that xyz are the leaders of the party. Some people want to pocket the party and that is why the constitution of the party is not on the streets of the country.

"Some people up there do not want the people to own the APC. We realised that the vision was no longer there. The soul of APC is lost and cannot be found. Meetings are not held regularly. The only meeting of the leadership was held only because of the Anambra governorship election.

"There is chaos in APC and these are the issues we raised and challenged . We spoke out. We wrote petitions and all that, but there was no response. We felt bad and then decided to move. Bafarawa, who spoke in the same manner, said the APC constitution was doctored.

"The APC constitution was drafted in my house and the only positions we had were the women and youth leaders. Yet, some people were going around to negotiate and asked people to join APC as leaders of the party.

"We are in PDP and we did not join because of any position or contract; we joined because of our people and love for the country," he said.

He also debunked claims that they joined the PDP because of their presidential ambitions. "Whoever emerges in 2015, it means that Shekarau and I will support the person. We did not join because of any personal ambition. Far from it. It is only God that gives power and He will take it always anytime," he added.

Former legal adviser to APC chieftain, Maj. Gen Muhammadu Buhari, Chief Mike Ahamba who chaired the occasion, said he would declare for the PDP on February 22 in Owerri. "I'm leaving the APC because they are standing for everything that I don't stand for," he said. Also, a former Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) governorship candidate in Kwara State, Dele Belgore, it was learnt, would declare for the PDP tomorrow.

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