About three weeks after it announced its plan to set up a committee that would embark on its own membership drive in reaction to the controversial rally of Friday, December 13 last year to welcome some defectors from the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, to the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC in Edo State led by Osagie Ize-Iyamu, the rival faction of the party loyal to the state governor, Godwin Obaseki, has made good it’s promise.
Reacting to the return of Ize-Iyamu, a former national vice-chairman, Southsouth zone of the party, an apparently unexcited factional state chairman of the APC, Anselm Ojezua had said at a world press conference on the contentious rally of Monday, December 16, 2019 “we are establishing a committee, we call it the mobilization committee to reach out to people of substance in other parties who wish to join our party the right and proper way as we are very open to receive them”.
It was against this backdrop that Ojezua, a lawyer, Friday inaugurated a 39-member mobilization committee headed by a former majority leader in the state House of Assembly, Matthew Iduoriyekemwen with the charge to embark on “serious membership drive”.
He listed the committee’s terms of reference to also include “to identify and interact with notable persons across the state who have shown genuine interest to join our party, and to develop a program of action to receive them at all levels of engagements from the ward to the state level.”
Ojezua said: “Today, we are inaugurating one of the most important committees any political party would have because it has to do with mobilization which is synonymous with membership drive. And in doing this, we have carefully and in consultation with the leadership of the party identified people; men and women that we know have the capacity, the goodwill to get the job done. And that is why the responsibilities have fallen on those we have just called”.
Ojezua told the committee that they were expected to work closely with the party leadership at the state, local government and ward levels, adding that they would be the ones to partner with and guide them in the course of their work.
Guiding the committee on how to go about its assignment, Ojezua said “you know as well as I do that quite a number of people have indicated interest to join our party; some for good and some for not so good.
Your work is to also use your means to do some level of screening and therefore make some recommendations that will be for the good of our party”.
While positing that the party is not a secret society, Ojezua stated that “everything we do is transparent and therefore this process is also transparent. We have set up this committee in the open and they will work from bottom-up because as they say, politics is local. We do not accept that membership drive for Edo people to join a party in Edo should be done outside Edo by people of questionable status within our party and that is the reason why we say this one is different.”
In a veiled reference to the controversial rally which his faction tried desperately to frustrate, Ojezua noted that “there is a clear difference between membership drive and an invitation of a mercenary group to come and do a hostile take over of the party as if this structure that we have put in place is not a superstructure.” He boasted that by the time the committee had successfully finished its assignment, Nigerians would know APC in Edo is as strong as it can ever be adding that “no sinister group, no matter how highly placed, can change the situation as far as Edo state is concerned.”
In his acceptance speech, Iduoriyekemwen, thanked the party leadership for finding them worthy of the assignment.
He promised that the committee “will ensure that people of good character who will lead the party to the next level are brought into the party.”