Efforts by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to mop up its aggrieved and disgruntled members across the country through the newly introduced electronic registration of members with a view to repositioning the party, suffered a great set back on Wednesday, following the outright rejection of the N1000 registration levy imposed on each member.
The pilot phase of the e-registration exercise scheduled to commence in Edo State on Wednesday, failed to take off, as some of the party members protested the proposed N1000 registration fee.
It would be recalled that the ?National Publicity Secretary of the party, Olisa Metuh, had on 23 August, announced that the party’s National Working Committee, NWC, had approved the resuscitation of the online registration of its member, using Edo state as pilot for the project.
According to the party’s NWC, the project which is to be handled by the PDP’s e-Membership Registration Committee, headed by Mr. Raymond Dokpesi, was aimed at returning ownership of the party to its members and strengthening the various structures of the party.
At a meeting held at the Edo state secretariat located along Sapele Road, Dokpesi explained that the e-membership registration cards to be issued to the party members would capture their bio-metric information, including bank details.
He also disclosed that a total of 250 machines had been deployed for the exercise in Edo North Senatorial District where the project was to 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 chairmen to make the project effective.
“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,” Dokpesi announced.
The announcement was however greeted with murmuring among the party members present at the meeting, expressing their unwillingness to pay for the registration.
One of the party members in Oredo Local Government Area who preferred anonymity, described the fee as expensive, adding that, bulk of the party supporters reside 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.
The acting National Chairman of the party, Uche Secondus, however told journalists at the end of the meeting that the party would work out details of the procedures for the exercise, noting that, the party had resolved to carry out a digital reform in order to re-position it as a national political party.
“The most important thing is 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 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,” Secondus said.