The venue where stakeholders meeting of Kwara State chapter of the All Progressives Congress ahead of the next week Tuesday commencement of the party membership registration exercise was enveloped in panic after rival factions within the party engaged in fisticuffs that disrupted the meeting.
As gathered, iron chairs and tables amongst other throwable materials were deployed by the warring factions in the pandemonium that lasted several minutes and left party members scampering to safety from the meeting held at the Banquet Hall, Government House, Ilorin
It was learnt that the crowded banquet hall that was earlier filled to the brim was deserted within a few minutes after the violence broke out during the meeting said to have been called for perfecting plans for the exercise.
The Guild gathered that the initiated by the Senator John Adonoi-led National Revalidation/Registration Membership committee of the party left no fewer than ten members present at the meeting injured.
However, the Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, while flagging off the party’s membership registration, revalidation exercise in the state on Wednesday appealed to party members to eschew violence or anything that could disrupt the exercise.
While reacting to the pandemonium, he also called on members to bury their differences and work for peace, while urging the committee handling the exercise to ensure that all willing persons are freely registered or have their membership status revalidated.
AbdulRazaq explained that disagreements within the party were normal democratic debates that should not be misconstrued for an intractable crisis, adding that it was pertinent for members to put all issues aside and embrace the process peacefully.
“As the registration is going on, we should all bury our differences. There is no political party that does not have its tendencies. That is all that democracy is all about. We should bury those views and leave the battle for another day. We should all embrace the registration. It will be useful to us at the national convention. We must all act to make sure the registration is a success,” he said yesterday when the Danboi committee paid him a courtesy visit.
“The idea of the registration was borne by President Muhammadu Buhari. He wants to see the base of the party expanding. In the last election, we got about 75% of the votes (in Kwara) with the bulk of the votes from members of the public who are not members of the party. Now, having seen the efforts being made by governments across the states and with campaigns for others to join us, we need to expand the base of our party.”
Briefing journalists on Wednesday after the governor revalidated his membership at his Idigba country home in Adewole Ward of Ilorin West, the governor said that the registration process for existing and intending members will begin fully next week Tuesday.
“This is a process of re-energising the party. Governors have been mandated to kickstart the revalidation/registration exercise in their respective states while the main exercise starts on Tuesday next week.
“We are going out to ensure that every member is registered. We should not say because somebody has a divergent view he should not be registered. Everybody inkling to do so should be allowed to register. We’re opening our doors and windows for everybody to come into the party.”