AKHERE Godwin, Benin
The pilot phase of the electronic registration exercise organised by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and expected to have commenced in Edo State, Wednesday, suffered a setback, as some party members kicked against the proposed N1,000 levy on each member as registration fee.
The National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh, had on August 23 announced that the party’s National Working Committee approved the resuscitation of the online registration of its member, using Edo as a pilot for the project.
The party had also explained that the project, which would be handled by the PDP e-Membership Registration Committee and headed by Chief Raymond Dokpesi, was aimed at returning ownership of the party to its members and strengthening the various structures of the party.
Dokpesi, in a meeting held at the party’s state secretariat on Wednesday, explained that each member would be issued with a card containing their bio-metric information, including banking details, at the end of the registration.
He noted that as many as 250 machines would be deployed in Edo North, where the project would kick off, to ensure that the PDP registered as many members as were willing to join its fold, adding that the party would engage the services of the local government and ward chairman to make the project effective.
But he was greeted with resentment and murmuring from some of the members present, when he announced a fee of N1,000 to be paid by each member into a Skye Bank account, for the exercise.
“In the far north of Weppa-Wanno, I think we have been sensitising the people and, as of today, all the women that are on the register have been so sensitised and have actually been paying into Skye Bank for this e-registration. It’s N1,000.
“If you like you, you can pay the N1,000 by your debit card. If you like, you can do it by transfer from whichever bank that is based in Nigeria, details of which will be provided,” he said.
But one of the party members in Oredo Local Government Area, who did not want his name mentioned, described the fee a expensive, adding that bulk of the party’s supporters resided in the rural areas.
“That fee is too much for many of us. I do not expect a market woman or farmer, who earns little, to pay that amount just to be a member,” he added.
However, the Acting National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, told journalists at the end of the meeting, later in the evening, that the party would work out details of the procedures for the exercise.
He also said that the party had resolved carry out a digital reform in order to re-position itself as a national political party.
Secondus said, “The most important thing that everybody has accepted, they have agreed that we must migrate from analogue to digital. In digital, we are able to access everybody. And the people at the local level, through their handsets, can access us on a two-way interaction and this is the way the world is today.
“INEC has been reformed; the political parties must be reformed; our party must be reformed. We must comply digitally and that is why we are here to interact with our members.
“The party will now belong to all. As long as you register, you are a member of the party and you have equal rights.”