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Sen. Enang’s call for APC’s mass registration receives mixed reactions

By Inemesit Akpan-Nsoh, Uyo
19 February 2021   |   3:49 am
The All Progressives Congress’ (APC) revalidation and registration exercise across the country has raised a lot of dust among party members.

Senator Ita Enang

The All Progressives Congress (APC) revalidation and registration exercise across the country has raised a lot of dust among party members. While some have alleged hijack of registration materials, others have been accused of denying party faithful the opportunity to register or revalidate their membership.

Others are pointing accusing fingers at party stalwarts in Abuja, saying that they were weakening their strongholds especially at the ward levels with their actions. As a result, party stalwarts at every point of registration are enlightening party members and would-be members that the exercise is not meant for a particular person but for the benefit of the party, for it to have more members in states where the party is not in control, or to use the exercise to ‘over-throw’ the ruling party in states where the party is in opposition.

This was what informed the Senior Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Niger Delta, Senator Ita Enang’s plea that youths and women should come out en masse to register for the APC. He made the plea after performing the revalidation exercise in his ward in Ididep, Ibiono Ibom Council area of Akwa Ibom State. The party’s Chairman, National Membership Registration/Validation

Committee for Akwa Ibom, Senator Abubakar Geiri, also echoed Enang’s call. He said such aggressive registration would lay a solid foundation for APC to take over the Government of Akwa Ibom State in 2023.

However, the exercise has not gone down well with majority of Akwa Ibom people and politicians alike, who reacted to Enang’s call. According to a political analyst, Mr. Effiok Effiong, the charge is not a serious one, as the average Akwa Ibom person does not know of any other party apart from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He said such call by the hierarchy of the APC was not enough to make the parry win in 2023.

“Over the years, I have seen how elections are conducted in this state,
how the people responded to it,” Effiong said. “I have come to understand that the issue in Akwa Ibom is not who belongs to which party, who is contesting election, but it is all about PDP. If you ask the average Akwa Ibom person, he talks about PDP. So, in this state it’s like PDP has come to stay. So, APC has a lot to do outside the registration exercise.”

He further stated that Senators Enang and Geiri’s call on the people to register in APC so as to upstage the PDP in 2023 was doing the wrong thing at the wrong time. He explained that the call would have made sense if Mr. President’s aide had fulfilled most of the things the party promised Akwa Ibom people. He pointed at the Calabar-Itu road dualization, which has remained unpaved. He also alleged that the rumoured governorship ambition of Senator Enang must have informed his aggressive stance in his plea for Akwa Ibom people to register with the APC.

“To me, telling the people to register with his party alone will not give him the position (governorship), because during elections, a lot of funny things take place. The APC should do more than mere registration or revalidation of its members,” Effiong advised.

Another area he said APC would have difficulty in displacing PDP is the lack of federal infrastructure. He said merely mentioning the name APC invokes unbelief in the minds of most people.

According to him: “If you check the policies of the party at the national level, you will see that it is not what the party promised Nigerians. APC as a party has brought pains to Nigerians, inclusive of Akwa Ibom people.

“What the political appointees from the state should do is to attract federal presence to us. Calling on people to register for the party, which has not done anything for them, to me, is a waste of time. It’s only when people see such development that they can take them serious and support whatever they say.

“For instance, Senator Enang has been telling people that contract has been awarded for the Calabar-Itu road, but till today that road has remained a death trap. Again, the issues of railway and the coastal road they promised us; nobody is saying anything about it again. None of the federal appointees from the state is challenging the Federal Government on this. I don’t know how they will convince the people to support APC in 2023.”

A newspaper vendor, Mr. John Etim, said although the Federal Government has given Akwa Ibom people a lot of appointments, he lamented that the state was yet to benefit from federal presence.

“I heard the call by our son Senator Enang in one of the radio stations, but I don’t see it as giving the APC upper hand over the PDP come 2023,” he said. “The party seems to be forcing people to join them, from my experience. This ‘forceful’ method will not make the APC win the state. What I fear is that the party may use the exercise in 2023 as voters’ list since people are thumb-printing with their faces being captured.”

While describing the call as child’s play, Publicity Secretary of Peoples Democratic Party, Mr. Borono Bassey, said Akwa Ibom people were too intelligent and enlightened to be lured by a party that has caused more pains and hardship on them.

“Look at the hardship the leadership of the APC has brought Nigerians,” he lamented, “Nigerians and Akwa Ibom people are now wiser and they will continue to be. The people have chosen PDP over any other party. So the hierarchy of APC cannot tell the people to register with APC.

“What has become of the Calabar-Itu road that Senator Ita Enang used to
preach about? This is what he should be telling Akwa Ibom people. This is the kind of conversation that Akwa Ibom people want to engage in and not urging them to register so that in 2023 the APC can take over the state. 2023 is still far.

“How are we sure we all will live to that time? And if we live to that time, the truth is that the people will give us the vote, as they have always done.

“At this time, we cannot confirm whether he has political ambition because we are not members of his party, but I want to tell you that Akwa Ibom people know those that mean well for them. They know people with better and positive antecedent and they will always give support to such people and that is the PDP.

“The governor has done a lot to touch the lives of Akwa Ibom people and the people are supporting him and, by extension, the PDP. However, he cannot make the call for people to register in APC. It is one thing to make the call it is another thing for the people to heed the call. Akwa Ibom people are not insensitive to what the APC is doing, and people of the state are intelligent.

Most of those, who reacted to Senator Enang’s call to register with APC for the party to take over Akwa Ibom in 2023, argued that with the hardship the party has inflicted on Nigerians, it would be hard for the party to continue after 2023, as most Nigerians were already disenchanted with it.

“Look at petrol today, we are suffering, paying high fares because of
high cost of fuel. You enter the market, the common food for the common
man: rice, beans, bread and others are not within the reach of people
again. So people, including Akwa Ibom people should think wisely come
2023,” said a respondent.

Enang had enjoined Akwa Ibom people to register en mass as part of engaging with the political process, saying the registration was not for anybody’s personal interest or ambition but for individual registration irrespective of who would be candidate at the poll.

“I use this opportunity to let everybody know that this registration is not for anybody’s personal interest or ambition. It is to register members of the party so that whether you are supporting A or B or C for Senate, House of Assembly, president or for governor of Akwa Ibom State, please let everybody come and register.

“The time to choose who will be the governorship candidate, the presidential candidate, the Senatorial candidate and all the other candidates will be during the nomination. So, the registration is for all members of the party. Let me report to the chairman of the committee that I am impressed with the high caliber of PDP members who have come to join and register in APC.

“Most of them have been supporting us discreetly but they have now come out to register and that they want to make sure that government in Akwa Ibom State is rid of PDP and the next governor will be from APC.”
Senator Abubakar Geiri also corroborating Enang, said the process was a foundation for APC to take over the government of Akwa Ibom in 2023. He urged Akwa Ibom people to ensure active participation in the ongoing registration and revalidation exercise. He added that Buhari was the president of the masses, hence his call for the revalidation of membership to enable the masses take over the party.