December 12, 2020

Kwara APC still searching for peace as Governor AbdulRazaq battles protracted party crisis

Kwara APC still searching for peace as Governor AbdulRazaq battles protracted party crisis

Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara State

Kwara State Governor, Abdulrazaq

…Investigation reveals origin of feud

…There’s understanding now, party chieftain claims

By Demola Akinyemi

The recent dissolution of party executives at all levels by the national leadership of the ruling All Progressives Congress ( APC) had signified a death knell to one of the two warring factions in Kwara state until the announcement came shortly after that the executives should act as Caretaker Committee.

It was therefore the peace of the graveyard in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state of harmony.

Saturday Vanguard reliably gathered that the seemingly irreconcilable political differences that pitched the two warring factions of Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq and the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed against each other happened during the political horse trading before the primaries where Mallam Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq emerged as the party’s gubernatorial flag bearer.

Alh Lai Mohammed who emerged as the leader of the party in the state, after the former Senate president Dr Bukola Saraki dumped APC to join PDP, was said to have supported another aspirant, Alh Yaman Abdullahi from Kwara North to be the flag bearer during the governorship primaries and not Mallam Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq. This was the root of the political differences which has become protracted two years into Governor Abdulrasaq’s administration.

Saturday Vanguard also gathered that associates of the governor were not happy that all the campaign logistics including cash and vehicles provided by party stalwarts and supporters of a new movement in the state meant for the governorship candidate were not made available to him throughout the campaigns.

Another core issue that has allegedly worsened the crisis between the governor and his political opponents according to a highly placed source within the party who craved anonymity was the issue of funds donated by the then All Progressives Congress (APC) governors to support his campaign were not made available to the campaign team. The cat was said to have been let out of the bag after Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq won the election, and he didn’t acknowledge the funding support while he was in the forum of his APC governors colleagues, a development that prompted one of the governors to challenge him.

Another factor, according to Saturday Vanguard findings was that of the state party chairman, Alh Bashir Omolaja Bolarinwa who was said not to have accompanied the governorship candidate on his campaign trips until the governorship campaign train got to Kwara South Senatorial District, his constituency. These and other related political skirmishes prevailed as Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq ran his campaign and eventually won the election.

READ ALSO: APC CRISIS: Two factions flex muscles over NEC meeting

The political differences were though noticeable during the campaign period but the general consensus among the stakeholders was to end the political dynasty of Dr Bukola Saraki in the state and thereafter sort themselves out after winning the election.

The then opposition APC eventually won the three Senatorial seats, six House of Representatives seats, 24 State House of Assembly seats and the governorship election in the state in the 2019 general election to dislodge the five decade’s reign of Dr Olusola Saraki’s dynasty.

However, the administration of Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, which came to power on the “O to ge “political mantra has not enjoyed peace with his All Progressives Congress (APC) party after two years.

Consequently, Saturday Vanguard reliably gathered that stakeholders in the “O to ge “ struggle were said not to be part of the many appointments made by the governor, while the governor was said to be supporting those who were alleged to be loyal to him among the party executives and party hierarchies and left others.

Today, the party’s membership has been divided between Governor Abdulrazaq otherwise known as AA caucus and the Legacy group under the control of Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture. Within the party executive, the Deputy Chairman, Abdullahi Samari, the Secretary, Mustapha Isowo and the Publicity Secretary, Folaranmi Aro belong to the AA caucus while the Chairman and a sizeable number in the executive hold their loyalty to the Minister. Opinions today are also divided among the stakeholders in the party on the performance of the governor who has been running the state the best way he could, reviving many abandond projects in the state.

Chief Wole Oke, a Second Republic majority leader in the Kwara State House of Assembly and a Chieftain of the party in the AA caucus said, “the government brought in by ‘O to ge’ Movement has achieved more in the provision of physical development and effective management of the financial resources of the state.” But another chieftain of the party, Akogun Iyiola Oyedepo said that the objectives of the ‘O to ge’ movement were yet to be achieved in the state.

According to him, “the objective is yet to be achieved, though we have been able to change the people in government, but we are yet to reach the eldorado because things are still being done the way they were. We have succeeded in changing the status quo, we are free from godfatherism and the politics in the state is no longer a one man or one family dominated, we have laid the foundation of bringing in more people of integrity into government.”

The political crisis rocking the party however reached a crescendo early last month during the stakeholders meeting held at Kwara Hotel and attended by both Governor Abdulrazaq and Bolarinwa, the chairman of the party.

It was gathered that the meeting was expected to be a parley between the two factions until it turned out to be the direct opposite. At the said meeting, the process of impeaching the state Chairman of the party Hon Bashir Bolarinwa was said to have started in an address that was being read by an Ex officio member of the party, one Hon Adewunmi from Kwara South but he was quickly stopped by dissenting voices.

The embarrassed Bolarinwa was said to have walked up to the governor to express his anger and the governor replied that he didn’t know anything about it.

The uproar that halted the reading of the speech to allegedly to impeach the state Chairman soon led to the abrupt end of the meeting as the governor was escorted out of the tensed venue by his security officers.

Saturday Vanguard reliably gathered that the aggrieved supporters of Bolarinwa were indeed trying to launch a retaliatory attack when Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq reaffirmed Bolarinwa’s chairmanship position the following morning.

According to the statement issued by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Rafiu Ajakaye titled, “BOB remains Kwara APC chair- Gov”, “Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq hereby reaffirms Hon. Bashir Omolaja Bolarinwa (BOB) as the chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kwara State. He urges all aggrieved persons to embrace dialogue and key into various efforts by him to rally everyone behind his agenda for a better Kwara State. To this extent, the Governor, who is the leader of the party in the state, asserts that BOB remains the chairman of the APC in Kwara State. “

The intervention according to Saturday Vanguard was said to have been reportedly masterminded by the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari who was reported to have prevailed on the governor to allow the status quo remain.

Speaking in an interview with Saturday Vanguard the vice chairman of the party, Alh Abdullahi Samari denied that there was still a rift in the party. “We attended a parley recently where all of us bore our minds, the crisis you are talking about is no more, we are now one united family “he said…

Whether this is true or not time will tell.

Vanguard News Nigeria