By Demola Akinyemi
The Elders of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) in Kwara State have called for the suspension of the Minister of Information and Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed from the party and his removal as the minister in the federal cabinet over allegations of his continuous efforts to divide the party in the state, and his attacks on the person of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq.
The elders of the party across the 16 local governments among whom were Barrister Kunle Sulyman, Senator Ahmed Mohammed, Prince Sunday Fagbemi, Chief Wole Oke, Senator Simeon Ajibola, Gen ST Bello, Elder Chief J. A. Sogo, Senator Bisi Oyewo, and Barr Titus Ashaolu SAN, Alh Abubakar Ndakene and several others said this at a press conference in Ilorin on Thursday.
Their spokesman, Prince Sunday Fagbemi, in his address attributed the lingering crisis in the party to the contest for the leadership of the party by the minister which dates back to the 2019 election and campaign era stressing that the minister cannot contest the leadership of the party with the governor.
He said, “May we at this point refresh your memory of the rebirth of the party in 2018: It was an amalgamation of varied tendencies with no common ideology and therefore lacking in the most rudimentary party discipline at the take-off of its operations.
“It is also necessary to remind you that with the conclusion of the party’s gubernatorial primary in October 2018 with Mallam Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq emerging the winner of the primary election it has been a case of no love lost between him and Alh Lai Mohammed who had assumed the leadership of the party shortly before the primaries, (being the highest political office holder at the time). That uncordial relationship resulting from supremacy contests has existed up till today. It is from this angle that one can understand this lingering hostility.”
Prince Fagbemi also said, “It is, therefore, not surprising that at the same programme on Saturday, 3rd July 2021 Lai Mohammed tried to divide the party along ACN/CPC lines when he asked his audience whether they knew anybody called AbdulRazaq AbdulRahman before now and the answer was that they didn’t.”
The elders’ spokesman also said that “The audience of the minister were those who dumped APC and burnt their brooms to form Third Force, saying, “now the question to be asked is whether the new secretariat unveiled by Alhaji Lai Mohammed is for their new party called the Third Force or for APC.
“This is because it was the same set of people who declared that they defected to Third Force and burnt brooms (APC identity) who gathered at Alh Lai Mohammed’s so-called APC secretariat. There must be an answer to this pertinent question.
“It is clear to those of us who are politicians in Kwara State and who understand the dynamics of Kwara politics that majority of those who attended the unveiling ceremony of Alh Lai Mohammed’s secretariat were members of his erstwhile campaign organisation Lai Mohammed Campaign Organisation (LAMCO) to whom he distributed all the cars and motorcycles belonging to APC in the 2019 general election.”
They further noted that “the estranged relationship between him and the governor who by party’s constitution is the leader of the party in the state, is most uncalled for. His continuing encouragement and support for the factionalisation of the party are divisive and disruptive to the party. It is anti-party, he cannot contest the leadership of the party with the governor.”
They, therefore, called,” for the immediate suspension of Alh Lai Mohammed as a member of the APC in Kwara State for his actions. We also called for his removal as a Minister from the cabinet of President Muhammadu Buhari for he is no longer fit to represent the interest of the people of Kwara State.”
They, however, described Mallam Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq as an exceptional governor in Kwara State who has performed and is still performing, touching every part of the state stressing that the ongoing crisis would soon fizzle out.