The Chairman, Caretaker Committee of Lagos All Progressives Congress, Alhaji Tunde Balogun, recently in Lagos spoke with WESTERN POST CORRESPONDENT Adeola Ogunrinde on the registration/revalidation exercise of the party members and why more youths are encouraged to participate in politics…Below is the text of the interview.
A lot of APC members in Lagos have complained that they have not been able to revalidate their APC membership, noting that the registration forms available are few. What are you doing to make sure every APC member is given the opportunity to register or revalidate their membership, and new members become part of the party?
Few days after we started the revalidation exercise in Lagos, because of the APC population in Lagos, we ran out of registration forms few days after the commencement. We then applied for more forms from Abuja , and we have just gotten them and the registration has continued. Out of 20 local governments, we have received registration for 14 local governments, remaining six local governments, hoping it will come before the end of the week. In doing this we have put in place some members of our party as registration officers. Three per polling unit and in Lagos we have over 8,000 polling units, and that is a lot of work. We have supervisors at the polling unit level and ward level to make sure all our members are registered
Concerning aggrieved members in the party, what are you doing to bring everyone back to the table, to register or revalidate their membership?
Of-course we have our hands open for members, whether aggrieved or not, we have not closed doors for reconciliation. It is a continuous exercise to reconcile our members, we have not just opened our doors to aggrieved members but to also PDP members and other party members who want to join APC.
What do you think of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his achievements so far?
His achievements are visible, you can see changes going on in and around the state, you can see a Governor in action. We have party programmes established for the development of Lagos State. We have THEMES agenda which Sanwo-Olu developed. Traffic management has improved. Maternal healthcare is coming up in Lagos State, same thing for education. This Governor has improved in the blue rail line, so he is working.
One of the the challenges of the last one year is COVID-19, which has affected governance and lives, what can you say about it?
The last one year, Governor Sanwo-Olu has tried to lead a campaign against Covid-19, to stop the spread of Covid-19. He has done his job like any other responsible government. On COVID-19 protocols, he has not encouraged people moving around in crowd, he has put in place laws that social distancing should be maintained and large crowd should be avoided. Governor Sanwo-Olu has really worked on that. I just want to admonish people that as they go round, they should use their masks because there is now in town another variant of COVID-19, which the experts say is more deadly. Those who have access to the vaccine should also take it to fortify themselves.
What are you doing as a party leader to encourage more youth to participate in politics?
We are encouraging any Nigerian above 18 to participate in politics, we will embrace you, we are making efforts in many ways to engage the youth in gainful employment . We want to work together with the youths. There are lots of programmes, which the Lagos State Government is bringing out and we want to encourage youths to participate in it.
After the registration, people are looking forward towards the 2023 election, what are your hopes for 2023?
My hopes are that my party APC will lead this country come 2023, that we lead this country more responsibly and peacefully. We want to look for a leader that is more resourceful and who has ideas to lead Nigeria into a great economy in 2023 and beyond. I want my party APC to continue to lead Nigeria. That is my hope and we will work towards it.