Adekunle Jimoh in Ilorin reports that 2023 governorship interest is behind the current crisis in Kwara State’s All Progressives Congress (APC)
There seems to be no letup in the war of attrition plaguing the Kwara State All Progressives Congress (APC). Protagonists and antagonists are accusing each other of blameworthiness in the seemingly irreconcilable crisis that has been rocking the ruling party since Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq assumed reins of power.
The crisis has torn the party apart into two factions: Namely Hon Bashir Bolarinwa faction (APC) and Governor AbdulRazaq’s faction. While Bolarinwa’s faction fingers the governor as causing the protracted crisis, AbdulRazaq’s group, led by the state APC Deputy Chairman, Alhaji Abdullahi Samari, disagreed with the claim.
But an elder statesman and leader of the party in the state, Alhaji L’Azis Jimoh, recently revealed that the governor is desirous to end the crisis. However, Jimoh accused some ambitious politicians in the party of not wanting the crisis to end. He said “21 elders cutting across the three senatorial districts of the state have been meeting and consulting since July 2019 to resolve the crisis amicably. The crisis is a distraction to the good work the governor has been doing. I beg all those fanning embers of disunity for their own selfish end to desist and let peace reign.”
Speaking with The Nation, a chieftain of the party and ex-leader of the Kwara State House of Assembly, Chief Wole Oke, attributed the intra-party crisis in the state APC to amalgam of strange political bed fellows.
Oke, who is the Jagunmolu of Shao, Moro Local Government Area of the state, added that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that migrated to APC in 2018 in the state was factionalised. He added that “PDP character imported into APC is what has now become a major burden, an albatross on APC in the state. It has become the bane of APC in the state. Every emergent group wants to be in control of the machinery of the party and even government.”
The APC elder cautioned that the crisis should not be allowed to fester for too long, saying the consequence of such a prolonged internal wrangling could lead to mutual destruction.
He asked “but should we engage ourselves in a political game which is sure to do irreversible harm to the party? It should not be allowed to go beyond the limit that should be considered reasonable; otherwise its consequence could be disastrous.”
Oke fingered those eyeing the governorship seat in 2020 as the ones causing the intra-party wrangling, accusing potential aspirants from Kwara Central of dividing the party and raising groups to advance their cause.
Said he: “As long as 2023 remains the main focus and target of each group in the intra-party conflict, meaningful settlement will be near impossibility, those who have their eyes on 2023 from Kwara Central Senatorial District, for instance, should be more circumspect and guarded. The incumbent Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq from the same district has the opportunity and constitutional right to a second term.
“At this point, it has become necessary to advise some leaders/members of the party to stop laying proprietary claim to the victory of the party in 2019. It is sheer arrogance; ungodly and self-serving. They should cultivate the simple habit of modesty and restraint.
“The party executive and leaders should respect the governor. It is impertinent, inglorious and least expected of any party member, no matter his status in the party, to denigrate the governor or derogate his status with unsavory remarks.”
“Just as it was in the old days of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) in the Second Republic in 1983, where the ruling party lost election to the opposition Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) and the ruling All Peoples Party (APP) lost to the PDP in 2003, nothing stops history from repeating itself in Kwara State in 2023 should the leadership of the party decide to remain cocky, a feature which appears to be their current posture,” he said
Oke asked “what really is happening? Has it got anything to do with protecting the greatest interests of the greatest number of the people? Is it just an ego-based interest of a few individuals who see themselves as those who should continue to determine the fate of the people of the state? Could it be sheer pride and arrogance or lack of humility which should normally be characteristic feature of those who see themselves as leaders?
Individual personal/group interests
A faction of the party, led by its Deputy Chairman, Abdullahi Samari, has absolved the governor of any culpability in the internecine internal crisis rocking the party.
Samari exonerated the governor at a parley chaired by the Secretary to the State Government, Prof Mamman Saba Jibril, on behalf of the governor.
Jibril reassured the party leadership of his support as well as his commitment to the overall good of the state. State Chairman of APC, Hon Bashir O. Bolarinwa, was conspicuously absent at the parley.
Alhaji Samari said the rumbling within the party centres around failure of a segment of the party executive to render accounts or relate with other members of the executive as equal stakeholders in the ruling party.
“I want to say clearly that we in the party do not have any problem with the government or the governor, he said. And let no one deceive the public that this is about the government against the party or the party against the governor. No. The problem is between us in the state executive council. It is not with the governor or his government. We want transparency and accountability within the party. That is all.
“As far as we are concerned, we couldn’t have asked for a better government because the governor has made a huge difference in every part of the state. In my local government (Baruten), no less than six different projects have been executed. The last one year has been so far so good. What the governor has done so far within one year has been stellar. I have heard the same stories from other local government areas. So, the governor has represented us well. He has been relating with us greatly. We were always consulted and called to make inputs in many of the things the government is doing, so we only need to support him.”
Samari said the only link the governor may have with the internal crisis was “him standing by us to call for accountability and transparency and that was after listening to all the sides from within the APC State Executive Council.”
Samari’s position was corroborated by the state Secretary of the party, Mustapha Isowo, and other APC executive members present at the meeting.
Samari commended the governor for yet again meeting with the party executives and called for more of such interface.
Reacting, Bolairnwa’s faction said Governor Abdulrahman
Abdulrazaq is behind the internal crisis rocking the party in the state. The Financial Secretary and Treasurer of the party, Mohammed Shola Tajudeen and Alhaji Dantala Yaro respectively however said some members of the party who recently attended a parley with the state government on behalf of the leadership of the party did not have the consent of the party to do so.
The duo said: “Our attention has been drawn to a parley held between the state governor, represented by the Secretary to the State Government, members of the state House of Assembly and a group of people purported to be the leadership of the APC in Kwara State.
“For avoidance of doubt, we affirm unequivocally that the state
Chairman of the party in Kwara State is Hon Bashir Omolaja Bolarinwa.
In line with the provisions of the party’s constitution, the Deputy Chairman can only represent the Chairman at any official function at the behest of the Chairman. The claim that the leadership of the party attended the said parley is spurious and unfounded as the group of people who supposedly attended the occasion did not represent the leadership of the party and did not have the instruction of the Chairman to do so.
”The continued hobnobbing with these group of people by the state governor and his appointees to the neglect of the state chairman has given a clear indication that not only is the governor behind the crisis in the party, he is the one fuelling it.
“We, the treasurer and financial secretary of the party, are the custodians of the party account and therefore know the true position of the account, stressing that any accusation of financial wrongdoing against the state chairman is merely a figment of their imagination. The State Chairman is of an impeccable character.”
The statement also accused some members of the executives who claim to have disagreement with the state chairman of not raising it at any of their executive meetings before they absconded.
“Their claim that the crisis is internal is untrue to the extent that t mhey are the protagonists who are internallyotivated from the day they gave themselves up for the divisive politics and manipulation of the governor at a price.
“The intention of the group is very clear; they decided to pitch their tent where their bread will be best buttered. In the process, they are destroying the house they helped to build without any qualms or any thought of the place of posterity as the best judge of all our actions.
“The aloofness and silence of the governor to their destabilizing activities lend credence to his support for them,” the duo said