The recent uproar in Kwara State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) over nominees’ list for appointment into Governor Abdulfattah Ahmed’s cabinet, by the sixteen local governments has assumed a new twist with renewed agitation among aggrieved party members and caucuses in the state. HEAD POLITICS, MUMINI ABDULKAREEM takes a look at the issue.
Following the announcement of dissolution of the state cabinet by Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed few months ago, the process of fresh appointment in the state chapter of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has turned out to be yet another “political headache” for the party.
Since the directive mandating all the sixteen local government councils in the state to nominate six names, three each to be considered for commissioners and special advisers/assistants, the request to do away with “old hands” to allow for fresh faces has generated another round of agitation with many of the councils reportedly defying the party’s directive.
According to the directive from the leadership of the party, the list of the nominees should not only contain the names of a male, female and youth, but those that should be considered must include nominees from areas or zones in the councils that have hitherto not enjoyed the opportunity of being appointed. But weeks after that audacious pronouncement, it seems like the centre has refused to hold with particular reference to some “top local governments” in the state.
What started like “joke” according to one of the party stalwarts who confided in Pilot Politics on the issues later snowballed into serious issue for the affected party caucuses and to this day, the leadership of the APC has not been able to find a common ground among its “warring” councils in respect of the worrying issue of recycling.
In the words of one of the party elders, although the APC leadership sounded the seriousness it attached to the directive of no recycling, most of the councils where handicapped by the local zoning arrangement already existing in their domain and how it will rob off on future appointments in the axis.
It was based on this premise, it was gathered, that many of the local governments had to “review” (in order words reject the directive of the party regarding the recent list of nominees to be able to accommodate the politics of appointments and “give and take” at the local level.
“It is not that we defied the directive of our party, but we have to consider the issue viz-a-viz the existing arrangement we have on ground. Such can however not be decided by fiat. We have to meet with those concerned, hold caucuses and stakeholders meetings to arrive at a common ground so as not to jeopardise or alter the local zoning arrangement and for us not to unduly favour or deny people their rights. I mean these are people that have worked and toiled for the party to reach this level. Mind you, these they have done amidst extreme patience and hope that it will soon get to their turn sooner or later. So how do you expect such people to feel now”? The party stalwart from Kwara South asked.
According to one of the sources from Irepodun, the party caucus stuck to the former list because the tenure of present administration is just less than a year left and it will not be “politically wise” to change appointees now.
“We have forwarded the names of those we earlier selected for commissioners, special assistants and advisers. The reason is that those who were removed have been there now for close to eight years and we agreed to allow them finish their term. Changing them now will alter our local arrangement which may distort the zoning arrangement we have on ground.
Political pundits in the state have continued to question the situation and how it has impacted the politics within the ruling APC. There however appears a dominating trend peculiar to each local government on the issue.
In most parts of the Kwara South like Irepodun, Oyun and Ifelodun among others, many of the party caucuses reportedly returned the list they earlier submitted taking cognisance of what they see as potential appointment crisis if the directive was allowed to stand. The major exception in this regard seems to be Offa Local Government known for its “peculiar politics”. Even at that, the caucus only submitted two names as against the three demanded by the party.
A source, who spoke on the issue explained that the decision of the council was occasioned by the need to have a balanced nominees’ list to represent the two constituencies in Offa, Ojomu/Balogun and Essa/Sawo/Igbodun.
Also, except for Asa Local Government, which also replicated the scenario in most Kwara South councils, the other local governments in Kwara central like Ilorin South and East adhered to the directive of the party with the exception of Ilorin West. A party elder in the council said the reason for the decision in Asa was to “fulfil a very strategic political principle”.
In Kwara north, and especially in places like Kaiama, disquiet seems to have even defined the intervention of the traditional institution whose candidate have been reportedly rejected by the caucus describing it as imposition.
The situation in Ilorin West however, seems to be one of ‘cat and mouse’ between the leadership of the party and the council. After the council allegedly defied the directive of the party, the list was initially rejected and all attempts to make the leadership see reason behind the resubmission of the rejected list fell on deaf ears. Not only did the party again reject the list for the second time within a week, the party reportedly directed that it needed only fresh faces to be forwarded for appointment.
A top source from the local government who spoke on the issue told Pilot Politics that “We don’t understand what is happening now and why the crave for this new faces at a time the party and government needs experienced politicians that can adequately position the party for the 2019 hostilities.
“In my constituency for instance, those that were picked are not only political neophyte, but their capacity to add value to the APC narrative few months to the election is very much in question and as a party man, I should worry about that”, he added.
Already, the issue in Kwara central has attracted “protest” and many may follow in the days ahead unless the party aggregate the views of the aggrieved party members to achieve a pacifying and acceptable common ground.
Last week, a group which termed itself “Concerned Youths of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ilorin East” have alleged that some elders in the council nominated their cronies for the position of commissioner in the state and appealed to the political leader of the party, the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki to come to their rescue so as to move the party forward.
The youths, while speaking with journalists, said that instead of convening stakeholders’ meeting on how the nominations would be done; some party elders allegedly sidelined them in the nomination processes.
According to the spokespersons for the group, Mr. Abubakar Olarongbe and Mr. AbdulKareem Olarenwaju, the youths, who constituted majority of the stakeholders in the party, have been sidelined, as they were not involved in the nomination process.
“We cannot explain why we have refused to protest all these while, we suspect they are using charm on us. They have done so many evil things to us over the years; various appointments that were supposed to be given to members on the basis of wards and units were restricted to their relations and family members. We chose to still remain in the party because of the benefits we enjoyed during the lifetimes of late Olusola Saraki and from his scion, Dr. Bukola Saraki” the group added.
In the light of the forgoing, will the leadership of the party this time around defy or better still, overrule the council and pick the nominees for appointment as commissioners and special advisers and assistants, or will the dancing game continue? Have those incoming commissioners in the light of the argument of their opponents/ antagonists prime themselves for digital performance in the few months left for the government to wind up if they are appointed? Answers to these questions will be clearer in the days ahead.