A member of the House of Representatives has written to the national leadership of the ruling All Progressives Congress to fault the timing of its nationwide membership registration/revalidation exercise.
Faleke told the PUNCH that such an exercise should not have been scheduled to hold at a time when Nigeria is recording a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic and safety protocols have been issued and are being enforced.
The lawmaker, who is representing Ojodu Federal Constituency in Lagos State, warned that the exercise might be counterproductive for the APC if the party goes ahead with the process.
He said, “The exercise is meant to register millions of our members across the federation and I foresee two scenarios: it is either we have our members coming out in multitude to register or most deciding not to come out at all for fear of being infected. The two options are not good enough for us as a party.
“If our members come out to register in high numbers, then the possibility of an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases might be high and ultimately lead to an increase in the number of fatalities.
“If our members refuse to come out for fear of being infected, then we will have lesser numbers of members to be registered for our party. Either way, God forbid, we lose.
“We are the ruling party and we must be in the forefront of promoting the welfare of our people, pushing this exercise forward will rather add to our popularity rather than reducing it. We can afford to do this because we presently don’t have any particular election to deal with.”
Faleke, however, issued the warning in his ‘Open Letter to National Chairman of the Caretaker Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Mai Bala Bunu.’
The letter read in part, “I’m obliged to write this letter to you to express my concern over an issue that can earn us negative moral ratings as a political party and as Nigerians in general.
“The prevailing pandemic situation in Nigeria and the fact of being a COVID-19 survivor have compelled me to write this letter to you as a loyal and committed party member and a patriotic Nigerian.
“Personally, I felt the decision to revalidate and conduct new registration of members is a laudable and commendable one because as we move towards another general election in 2023, the need to update our membership register could not have come at a more opportune period.
“However, laudable as the registration plan may be, what about the timing of the exercise? With due respect sir, it is my considered opinion that the timing is not appropriate at this time, especially given the renewed surge in the spread of Covid as it is being reported on daily basis by the Presidential Task Force (on COVID-19). Some states are already overstretched in oxygen supplies and care.”
The lawmaker noted, “Our government has for some time given directives to the religious bodies to reduce congressional attendance at both churches and mosques. So many states have cancelled social gatherings, while others are compelling the use of face masks to reduce the rate of infection and fatalities. So, why must we go into an exercise that will certainly draw large crowds across the various states?
“The stage is set for the exercise and I must confess that I’m personally impressed with the preparations and logistics put in place for the exercise. I have no doubt in my mind that it will be a resounding success for us and will be a springboard for achieving one strong, united party.
“However, the situation in the country, occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic, has compelled me to have a rethink on the desirability of continuing with the exercise as planned. Mr Chairman, I’m strongly of the opinion that this exercise should be postponed till a more appropriate time.
“Personally, I believe this will not only shore up the image of our great party but will also save lives of Nigerians.
“There is no doubt that the second wave of COVID-19 has proven to be more dangerous and deadly…Already, places of worship are operating in half capacity while in some states, most civil servants are working from home.
“All these measures were put in place to control the spread of the deadly virus; my question is, ‘Do we need to aggravate the situation by going ahead with our registration and revalidation exercise?’”