By Sanni Abdullahi

A serving Member of the Nigerian House of Representatives, has warned the All Progressives Congress, APC, against going ahead with its nationwide registration of membership.

Honourable James Abiodun Faleke,
Member representing Ikeja Federal Constituency in the Lower Chamber, is the
Chairman, House Committee on Finance.

Faleke, himself a member of the APC, gave the dreaded Coronavirus pandemic, codenamed Covid-19, as reason for his advice, noting that if ignored may earn the party negative moral ratings.

Hon. Faleke’ s advice which was contained in an Open Letter he addressed to the National Chairman of the APC Caretaker Committee, His Excellency, Alhaji Mai Bala, is hereby presented in full below:

Open Letter To National Chairman of the Caretaker Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Mai Bala Bunu

Dear Chairman

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 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.

I want to state categorically here that the contents of this letter are my personal opinions based on personal experience, interaction with people and observation of events happening around us daily.

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 elections in 2023, the need to update our membership register could not have come at a more opportune period.

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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 the renewed surge in the spread of Covid as it is being reported on daily basis by the Presidential Task Force.

Some states are already over stretched in oxygen supplies and care.

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 wit 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 have compelled me to have a rethink on the desirability of continuing with the exercise as planned.

Mr Chairman, I’m strongly of the opinon 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.

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The Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19, Mr Boss Mustapha had warned that the second wave of the pandemic would be more dangerous and deadly. Events since the beginning of the year have proven him right. Mustapha himself was struck by the deadly virus and yours truly also tested positive to the virus recently. Mustapha, Others and I are lucky to survive. But several others did not.

Mr Chairman, let me give you a grim statistics of COVID-19 in January 2021.

Between January 1st to January 22nd, a total of 196 deaths were recorded from COVID-19. This amounted to 13.2% of the whole total of 1, 485 fatalities recorded throughout the country.

This is also means that an average of nine people died daily of COVID-19 between January 1st and 22nd.

Between January 19 and 22, a total of 6, 134 people tested positive to COVID-19 and the number of infections continue to grow higher and higher prompting the Federal Government to even consider another lockdown.

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?

The exercise is meant to register millions of our members across the federation and I forsee two scenarios: it’s 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.

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If our members come out to register in high numbers, then the possibility of increase in the number of COVID-19 cases might be high and ultimately lead to 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.

The second variant of COVID-19 is ravaging the world and most countries of the world have entered a second lockdown.

There is a Federal Government directive that we should avoid large gatherings of people and that social distancing should be maintained at all times and personally, I don’t believe we can achieve adequate social distancing if the registration and validation exercise is allowed to go ahead.

I’m a survivor of COVID-19 and I knew the harrowing experience I went through which I would not wish even for my bitterest enemy.

My humble opinion and suggestion is we should postpone this exercise to a time that is conducive, when the coronavirus situation in the country would have improved.

Thank you and God bless.

Honourable James Abiodun Faleke
Member representing Ikeja Federal Constituency
Chairman, House Committee on Finance