Kwara APC Crisis: Has Gov. Abdulrazak pulled a masterstroke?
The simmering crisis in the ruling All Progressives Congress APC in Kwara state boiled over within the week when the opposing camps shifted the battleground to the national secretariat of the party in Abuja.
One of the camps is led by Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, while the other is jointly led by Information and Culture minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed and Minister of State, Transport, Sen. Gbemisola Saraki.
At a point, it would appear that the state governor, Abdulrahman Abdulrazak was losing out as the Gov. Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee CECPC on December 11, 2020 inaugurated Hon. Bashir Omolaja Bolarinwa, an ally of the two ministers as the Caretaker state Chairman of the party
The new year however came with new surprises following the sack of Bolarinwa by the CECPC which appointed his erstwhile deputy, Hon. Abdullahi Samari in his stead.
The crisis of confidence took a turn for the worse on Wednesday as loyalists of both ministers stormed the national secretariat of the party where they voiced their rejection of the CECPC verdict.
Reading the text of a prepared speech signed by 19 stakeholders of the party, leader of the delegation, Akogun Iyiola Oyedepo warned Gov. Abdulrahman Abdulrazak against stoking crisis in the party, saying if the group could dethrone former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, a “political Iroko”, it would not take anything to unseat the governor, a “political shrub”.
Other signatories were Chief T. A Sunday Oyebiyi, Engr. Umaru Sha'aba, Isa Bio lbrahim, Barr. Ladi Mustapha, M. T. Mamman and Akande Adefila. Others were Hon. Saheed Popoola, Prof. Shuaib Abdulraheem, Senator Ahmed Zuru, Alhaji Lukman Mustapha M., Alhaji Waziri Olayiwola Gobir, Alhaji Saliu Mustapha, Alhaji S. Y. Abdullahi, Alhaji Tajudeen Audu, Alhaji Akeem Lawal, Alhaji Bolaji Jimoh, Capt. Nasiru Mohammed Efuman(retd) and H. B. Oyedepo.
However, in the text titled, “Road to the destruction of All Progressives Congress in Kwara state”, Oyedepo noted that the governor is not humble with power "and we believe that he is trying to ruin and destroy the chances of the party".
"We fought the war of O’toge and he played the least role and we have told him that if we could remove an Iroko tree, it will not take us anything to remove a shrub.
"Gbemi Saraki and Lai Mohammed are with us. They are fully with us. They are not with the governor and we are telling the whole world openly", he stated.
They accused the Niger state Governor, Sani Bello of assisting Gov. Abdulrazak to convince the CECPC to do his bidding.
Governor's men fight back
The following day, loyalists of Gov. Abdulrazak also stormed the national secretariat in their numbers and threw their weight behind the decision of the national leadership of the party to appoint Alhaji Abdullahi Samari as the Acting state Chairman of the party.
"This indeed is a lifesaving decision for the party that had been in the vice grip of power drunk and self-conceited individuals whose only loyalists are garrulous and selfish few whose only anger with the Governor is that he did not make himself a yes-man or stooge through whom the public vault is thrown open”, they stated.
The group led by Chairman of the Kwara APC Elders Forum, Barr. Kunle Suleiman, Nigeria's immediate-past ambassador to Malaysia, Amb. Nurudeen Muhammed and Sen. Suleiman Makanjuola Ajadi made its position known while addressing journalists on Thursday at the APC National Secretariat in Abuja.
Other members of the delegation were Gen. Tunde Bello (retd), Sen. Muhammed Ahmed, Chief JB Ayeni (Chairman APC Elders Forum in Kwara South), Alhaji Alabi Ilyasu, Chief Wole Oke, Hon. Ayinla Folorunsho, Alhaji Abubakar Ndakene, Hon. Mumuni Katugi, Gen. Ibrahim Bola Kale Agbabiaka and Alhaji Hameed Adio.
They specifically accused the former chairman, Bashir Bolarinwa of launching a campaign of calumny against the governor.
"It is on record that these gangs dedicated a weekly programme to denigrate the Governor, his administration, and the House of Assembly. They never missed any opportunity to denigrate the office of the Governor. Certainly, no system, much less an organised political party, can survive the level of indiscipline, arrogance and unbridled ambitions of these lousy few.
The intervention of the national headquarters of the party is therefore timely and necessary to save the party from these oppressive, self-centred gang.
"Contrary to their claims, Hon. Bashir Omolaja Bolarinwa was rightly removed as chairman of the party for his many anti-party conducts which include but are not limited to:
"Open condemnation and denigration of the achievements of the APC government for his own selfish objectives.
"Using the radio and social media platforms to launch attacks on the person of the Governor and members of the State Assembly without any provocation.
"There is no love lost between him and majority of the state executive council members who he never consulted; His refusal to accept the leadership status of the Governor and his utter disrespect for the office of Governor in his language and conduct.
"It has become a norm for Hon. Bolarinwa and his co-travellers to organise thugs and miscreants to disrupt programmes.
"The actions, utterances and general behaviour of these few party chieftains against the governor and his administration are motivated by superciliousness, personal aggrandisement and their desire to ensure the failure of the Governor and his administration", they stated.
The forum added that Hon. Bolarinwa ran a divisive state executive council and never missed any opportunity to oppose the government elected on the platform of the party he purported to lead.
"He became the major opposition to the government elected on the platform of his own party without any just cause.
"Against these backdrops, we fully support the decision of the party to remove Hon. Bashir Omolaja Bolarinwa as his continuous leadership of the party was a disaster waiting to happen. We align ourselves with his replacement with a rather cool-headed, committed and mature party chieftain Alhaji Abdullahi Samari who we are sure can better unify the party”.
The elders also berated the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed and the Minister of State, Transportation, Sen. Gbemi Saraki for sponsoring some “failed governorship aspirants” against the governor, describing the duo as paperweight politicians with no electoral value.
Referring to Mohammed and Saraki, Barr. Suleiman said; “Those ministers and Association of Failed Governorship Aspirants can come to Abuja to say nonsense but they are just paper weight politicians. They have no influence at the grassroots. Even a professor, like Oba Abdulrasheed who prides himself as a former university vice chancellor would still have to come to the grassroots to learn".
Sen. Ajadi on his part said the two ministers are presidential appointees who lack the capability to win elections.
'Ministers are not elected officials. President Muhammadu Buhari picked them not based on their capability to win elections. If you check the pedigree of the two ministers you will understand what I am saying that they do not have the capacity to win elections", he stated.
According to the elders, the Abdulrazak administration “is ending the helicopter money politics that had plagued Kwara's past", adding that within the past 18 months, the administration has fixed over 100 rural and urban roads, culverts and bridges.