•As national leadership suspends minister’s allies
By Demola Akinyemi & Omeiza Ajayi
The opposition groups within the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kwara State have not stopped attacking their governor, Mallam Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq since late last month when the governor at a book launch on “O to ge” movement revealed what he went through during his governorship campaign in 2019.
At the book launch, the governor complained of being sidelined in the activities of the party which was then led by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhai Lai Mohammed before his eventual victory at the polls. The governor further raised questions on the funds that ran into hundreds of millions of naira which were raised for his campaign but was hidden from him.
However, speaking on the crisis, a faction of the party, which branded itself,”Integrity Group” said there was no contest that Governor AbdulRazaq was the leader of the party in the state and not the minister.
The group however expressed disappointment that the governor raised questions about the hundreds of millions of naira allegedly sourced for his governorship campaign which he claimed was hidden from him. The group argued that having won the election for which the money was raised, the governor should have forgotten about the whole matter.
Spokesman of the group, Comrade Abdul-Rahoof Bello, at a press conference last Saturday said,”the position of the party that the Governor is the leader is never in dispute and it is so recognised by the rank and file of our party in this state. The governor today is sitting on monthly allocations running into billions of naira, same for local and international grants among others. Of what relevance is the hundreds of millions of naira he’s talking about two years after since he had won the election he needed the money for. The elders made it clear to the governor that even if he was handed all the monies and materials as he demanded, he could not have achieved more than the victory already achieved.”
The group which requested for the materials of the forthcoming party registration to be given to them also opted for direct congress immediately after the registration exercise,saying that they would not be part of the consensus arrangement being proposed by the governor.
The State Chairman of the Caretaker Committee, Alh Abdullahi Samari however dismissed the request saying,”APC is an organised and structured party, so the request of giving any group registration materials is not in anybody’s interest because we will give everyone opportunity to revalidate and register including those who are willing to join the party “
He also cautioned the aggrieved APC youths for asking the national leadership of the party to sanction the governor for allegedly instigating crisis in his state party.
Spokesman of the youths Comrade Mustapha Mohammed from Edu local government at a press conference in Ilorin on Tuesday said “Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq is guilty of causing division and crisis within our party and the de-registration of members by his chosen agents during the last registration and revalidation exercise of our party.
Samari however cautioned the youths, who he said were being sponsored, to beware of their utterances at crisis period saying that they didn’t have the right to demand the governor’s removal from the panel set up to settle Anambra state political crisis because those who appointed him knew his competence.
Meanwhile two first class monarchs in Kwara South, the Olofa of Offa, Oba Mufutau Gbadamosi and Olomu of Omu-Aran Oba AbdulRaheem Oladele Adeoti have commended the governor on his performance. They both endorsed the second term of the governor.
Recently when the governor went to inspect one of the ongoing projects in Offa and paid the Olofa of Offa a courtesy visit, the monarch told him that he had performed exceptionally well in the last two years,and that no governor in the history of Kwara State had beaten his record within the period.
He asked the governor to ignore the few people who were not supporting him, describing it as human nature because if Almighty God had come in person, people would still find fault with Him.
Olofa also said that several residents in Offa loved the governor’s style of administration and his performance and that such people were many and would vote for him for his second term
The monarch said,”I’m bold and confident to say that you have done very well and I want you to contest for another four years. Don’t mind the few ones, even here who are not supporting you for selfish reasons, they are noise makers. It’s human nature. So, please remain focused, almighty God will continue to be with you.”
Similarly, another first class monarch, the Olomu of Omu-Aran, Oba AbdulRaheem Oladele Adeoti who described the governor’s administration as a “paradigm shift in all ramifications” said: “I am not a politician, I’ve never been, facts are however sacrosanct. We’ve had several governments in this state, I can say without fear of contradiction that what we have today is a paradigm shift clearly different from the past. We have a governor who is neither extravagant nor ostentatious in all ramifications, he’s arguably the only governor not living luxurious and flamboyant lifestyle in the country today. If Kwara can continue with him for the next six years, then the future generations will be proud of us all”.
Meantime, in what appeared a major political triumph for Governor AbdulRazaq, the national Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee CECPC of his ruling All Progressives Congress APC has suspended 11 chieftains said to be loyal to the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
The Minister’s group had opposed the removal of Bashir Bolarinwa as the caretaker chairman of the party in Kwara state and approached the court to demand the removal of the approved State Caretaker Committee Chairman, Abdullahi Samari Abubakar.
Since then, the governor and the minister have been struggling for the control of the state chapter of the party, with the altercation reaching a crescendo few days ago when the minister commissioned a parallel party secretariat in Ilorin, the state capital.
The Gov Mai Mala Buni-led CECPC in a response to an earlier letter written by the Kwara state Caretaker Committee Chairman, Abdullahi Samari Abubakar approved the suspension of the party men.
Buni in the letter signed by the National Secretary of the CECPC, Sen. John James Akpanudoedehe said the national leadership “considered the decision of the Kwara State Caretaker Committee dated 5th February 2021 on the resolution of the Kwara State Disciplinary Committee to suspend erring members who instituted SUIT NO: CV/241/2021 BETWEEN JOSEPH TSADO AND 10 ORS VS ALL PROGRESSIVES CONGRESS & 2 ORS against the party”.
He said after due consideration of the decision, the members of the Caretaker/Extraordinary National Convention Planning Committee found the decision meritorious on the grounds that the members who instituted the suit against the Party had flouted the directive of the National Executive Committee, NEC, of 25th June 2020. NEC had resolved that no member of the Party should institute any action in court while those already in court before that day were asked to withdraw all pending cases in order to explore the internal conflict resolution mechanisms of the Party.
“Consequently, the Caretaker Extraordinary National Convention Planning Committee ratifies the decision of the Kwara State Caretaker Committee and upholds suspension of the following Party members: Joseph Tsado, Bamidele Ogunbayo, Issa Fulani, Imam Abdulkadir, Morufu Olaniyi Yusuf, Saludeen Lukman, Kerebu Fatai, Bola Ajani, Nurudeen Fasasi, Salman Shehu Babatunde and Abdullateef Ahmed Kolawole”, the committee said adding that, “the suspension constitutes a bar on the above-named persons from participating in the on-going registration and revalidation of membership exercise”.
Samari and the caretaker secretary, Mohammed Mustapha Salman had in February written the CECPC alerting it of the court case instituted against the party by the now suspended members.
According to them, “the Plaintiffs instituted the suit against the Party and flouted the resolution of the National Executive Committee NEC wherein all members were directed not to institute any action and withdraw their cases in Court in order to explore the internal conflict resolution mechanisms of the Party.
“The Kwara State Caretaker Committee has received and adopted the report of the disciplinary Committee in respect of Joseph Tsado & 10 Others. This is pursuant to Article 21 (B) (i) & (iii) of our Party’s Constitution (October 2014 as amended). The Disciplinary committee set up by the State Caretaker Committee as directed concluded its proceedings and resolved to suspend the erring members from the Party. The above mentioned members failed to appear before the Disciplinary Committee despite being invited to attend the proceedings”.
A faction of the crisis ridden party in the state, which branded itself,”Integrity Group” has however affirmed that there was no contest that Governor AbdulRazaq was the leader of the party in the state.