By Kayode Abdulazeez
The crisis rocking the Kwara State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) seems to be taking a new dimension with the recent development in the party. With the new scenario, party loyalists and supporters, most especially those that risked their lives and worked tirelessly to ensure the party took over the control of the governance in the state from the former Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki in the last general elections appear not to be happy with the situation of things presently.
Although, all that is happening in the party at the moment cannot be said to be new to political analysts due to the way and manner the primary elections were conducted, the result of the exercise however has been a subject of controversy among the candidates that went in for the contest.
It would be recalled that many of the party’s aspirants who contested during the primaries laid claims to the victory of the election most especially, Professor Shuaibu Oba AbdulRaheem, who was boasting of having results of that election and that he was leading other candidates in many polling units before it was suddenly stopped half way.
The choice of direct primary by the party itself was believed to be programmed to fail, given the people’s views, considering how cumbersome it could be. It eventually turned out to be true for it reportedly failed to provide a clear and unanimous winner.
Nevertheless, following the exercise, the party was expected in the spirit of sportsmanship to carry on from that episode which was displayed by leaders and aspirants like Hon. Mashood Mustapha and Mallam Salihu Mustapha among others who had every opportunity to endanger the chance of the party to have a candidate in the governorship election. The duo was unceremoniously disqualified at the early hour of the primary through a broadcast from Radio Nigeria, Idofian which authorization is still shrouded in mystery up till this day.
Had one of the duo decided to take their disqualification up at the law court, the party would have lost out totally in putting forward a candidate for the governorship election, just like what happened in River State, where APC could not present a governorship candidate for the last general election.
Thanks to the National Chairman of the Party, Comrade Adam Oshiomole and other national leaders, the two Mustaphas were appealed to and letters of apology issued to them on behalf of the party and they were probably even promised something better at the federal level – (that is yet however to materialise).
As a result of the party’s intervention at the national level, all contestants shielded their swords following the declaration of Alhaji AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq as the winner of the primary bowing to the anointed candidate from the presidency and national leaders of the party.
Thereafter, the state chapter of the APC eventually defeated a force that has been dominating the state politics for sixteen years, with well-rooted structure across the political wards in the state in all the elective positions that were contested. Such (rare) achievement was made possible by the coming together of all the political gladiators across the state that opposed the political system of former Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki. They all jettisoned their personal interests and deployed resources in favoured of APC and all their candidates to ensure they come out victorious.
Mallam Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq was later sworn-in as the Executive Governor of the state with the hope that he would operate an all-inclusive government by carrying everybody along.
Now, Abdulrahman is fully in position of authority as the Governor of the state and many see him as someone that must be pleased and lobbied in order to secure his favours in terms of political patronage, like; appointments, contracts and many more.
But, His Excellency needs to realise that it is too early for his government to be giving certain people attention on their destructive move to destabilize the party especially those who worked for his victory. By deceiving him that he must hijacked the party structure and made his loyalists executive of the party from state chairman to all party chairmen in all the 16 local governments. Is it because of 2023 or what?
The move to allegedly hijack the party’s structure first started like a rumour until the Ilorin South party chairman was removed from office in an unceremonious manner. This was despite the warning from the State Working Committee (SWC) to all the party members across the state to follow the party laid down procedures in removing their chairmen or other executive members that accused to have committed one offense or the other.
After that, some people were also alleged to be gathering signatures to pass a vote of no confidence on the state chairman of the party, Hon. Bashir Omolaja Bolarinwa in all sixteen local governments. Some party stalwarts however alleged that those behind the plot were being sponsored by the Governor. But this position was faulted by some party stalwarts describing those behind the move as attention seekers and sycophants that are only looking for ways to get Governor’s attention.
Although, a source close to the Governor made it known that, he (Abdulrazaq) is not the one behind the moves by some people trying to replace some party leaders at the local government levels, I also share such position. The reason being that it will be politically unwise for the Governor who emerged on the strength of the love of the majority to commence what I will describe as a premature politicking for 2023 without any tangible achievement to point to yet as a Governor.
Responding to the gale of suspensions recently in the party, the Kwara State chairman of APC, Bashiru Omolaja Bolarinwa in a statement recently, stated that, “In the aftermath of the wanton and reckless removal of Party officers by a congregation of disgruntled, selfish and attention seeking elements in the party, those involved must desist from perpetrating unconstitutionality and discord within the party”. Bolarinwa decried a situation where one would labour to build a house and be hell-bent on destroying same.
He stated further that “those who have murdered sleep would no longer find peace, as all the organs of the party would no longer condone such recklessness and activities inimical to the growth and unity of the Party through the application of appropriate sanctions”
He, thereafter declared as null and void, all suspension of officers embarked upon without due diligence and as laid down by the party’s constitution.
The above statement from the party chairman in the state and many other stories emanating regarding the current situation is a pointer that all is not well within APC in Kwara.
There were also a lot of secret complaints by some party gladiators that they are not being carried along in the constitution of the cabinet and governance of the state by the Governor.
Although, the Governor claimed he was ready to set a standard in Kwara politics, but His Excellency must equally know that party members should not be totally sidelined too because many of them also invested heavily in the election that produced him. And such people deserved to be given a sense of belonging in the governance of the state.
It is however expected that His Excellency should carry Politicians along, most especially the experienced ones. As the Governor, he already has the plan of how he wants to develop the state. His appointees either politicians or technocrats, as they are usually called, are only coming to carry out his vision plan. And I believe they would mostly need sincerity of purpose for the Governor and government not to be compromised.
In conclusion, the hard earned political liberation many Kwarans are believed to be enjoying at the moment must be well-managed and judiciously guided. His Excellency must know that the political future of one time opposition members largely lies in the outcome of his administration. Moreover, it is time to prove to the people that he has what it takes to call the shot in the state.
Abdulazeez is the media aide of Hon Moshood Mustapha