The recent statement released by the Kwara State chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Hon Bashiru Omolaja Bolarinwa has again underscored the extent of the protracted crisis that has rocked the party since the last 2019 election when it came to power in the state. Head Politics, Mumini AbdulKareem writes on the latest development.
Recently, I received a call from one of the top leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) from a local government in Kwara North who is also close to the traditional institution in that part of the state. Although, we had not spoken for quite a while, we have always been in touch especially in the cause for updates on issue about the party from that part of the state.
“How is our government doing”, he asked. I pursed a bit trying to ruminate on why he was asking and how best to answer his query. But he immediately followed it up with a long laughter. And then we began the discussion on the protracted crisis in the party across the state and how the Governor has fared.
“We (APC) are not relating well and we want to improve upon that but we are not comfortable with this government yet our stake is very high. Look at what some of us have lost because of this struggle and you can see how they are misbehaving, it is very bad. What I see in him, (the Governor) is that he wants to be a sole administrator and anybody that have influence or substance will not be allowed to be in the government. That is his principle and it will not augur well for him.
“We are now months into the election and he is just scraping around like a … (I deliberately don’t want to use the exact word) and before you know it, election will set in. Don’t forget that the labour crisis is coming (this was some months before the present logjam on the N30 minimum wage between labour and government). He is not with the emir or anybody but just alone. But can he survive, we pray he doesn’t rock the boat before the time” added the chieftain. Insiders in the party have lamented the situation of things across boards in all the senatorial districts with accusing fingers pointed at Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq for allowing it to fester.
Now to be sure, Kwara North was one of the regions in the state that the layman will say in the local parlance “carried the O to ge struggle in their head more” before the 2019 election. And despite efforts to appease the leaders and traditional institutions by the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which went ahead to sign a pact that power will return to the rejoin after just one term of a Rasak Atunwa government if he wins, the youth especially confronted their leaders and traditional rulers and rejected the plea to consider the PDP. The district massively voted for the APC which won all the available elective seats in the state during the 2019 exercise.
Although, Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq has made appointments and supported causes to give the region sense of belonging in the new government, many of the leaders of the party especially those who contested the gubernatorial ticket with him are reportedly not on the same page with the Governor over his style of leadership and approach to governance that has more or less ostracised them from the party. The composition of the state cabinet recently, according to party sources, have left the party further polarised as list of candidates by many of the party leaders were reportedly rejected despite the assurances and reconciliation meetings held with the governor to this regard.
The situation is almost the same across other senatorial districts in the state where the Governor has reportedly cut ties with leaders that teamed up to bring him on board. Coming to Kwara Central, despite the efforts by some party leaders to play down the effect of the crisis on the party, many of them have decided to watch the Governor with hands akimbo following what party sources described as their repeated “rejection” and “humiliation” of inputs, suggestion and preferences regarding the government. Although affected leaders have largely maintained silence over the issue and expressed public posture of unity during any of their social functions usually attended by the Governor, the pact and bond that existed before the election has not only deflated but continued to expand over differences in style and approach to governance. The likes of Minister of State for Transport, Gbemisola Saraki, former chairman, Federal Character Commission (FCC), Prof Shuaib Abdulraheem Oba, former House of Representatives member, Hon Moshood Mustapha and the Proprietor of Sobi FM who is also a banker, Lukman Mustapha among other state actors from the district have reportedly distance themselves from matters of the state for now. For instance, although Moshood Mustapha promised to speak out against any “injustice” to party leaders in the issue of cabinet appointment, the former gubernatorial aspirants has since refused to made public comment after the Governor reportedly dumped their nominees during the formation of the cabinet.
Mustapha had told Pilot Politics then that “We are eagerly waiting for the (cabinet) list just like Kwarans and see whether it’s something that is in line with the position of the stakeholders of the party. We want to wait for the full list of the people that will drive the affairs of the state on behalf of the people of the state.
“My appeal about this is that the Governor is just letting the cat out of the bag. We should wait for the entire cat to come to see whether it’s a cat with four or six legs and one eye or two eyes… If for whatever reason we feel very uncomfortable with some of the names, we have our own channels of talking to the Governor and if we need to talk to the people to express our appreciation or disappointed to the Governor, we will not fail to do that… We have been very patient since the Governor was inaugurated in May, so we should just wait… for the list and we take it up from there”, he had said. But it appears Mustapha is still seizing up the situation months after the cabinet had been formed as he is yet to respond to queries about his take on the cabinet over this.
Turning to Kwara South, the Governor is reportedly not on the same page with the “powerful” Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed and by extension the APC wing of the National Leader of the party, Ahmed Bola Tinubu. It has been the same story for the likes of former Kwara state chairman of the PDP, Iyiola Oyedepo and Chief Rex Olawoye among others who have been heavily vilified by Kwarans for making spreading falsehood on radio and making promises that the party may and will not be able to fulfil in line with the current reality of things in the state. Furthermore, in the fight for the control of the party executive, the chairman of the party, Bashiru Omolaja Bolarinwa have add at least two public outbursts over the party crisis with the Governor according to reports that was confirmed by prominent party members and there are no signs yet that more will not likely to come going by the latest development in the party. Bolarinwa has even reportedly gone further to purportedly accuse the governor of plans to impose another executive largely populated by his loyalists whose recruitment has commenced across the local governments in the state.
“Anyone tinkering with the list or engaging in the composition of party executive members in the state APC are impostor and agents of destruction. Nobody is empowered at any level to tinker with the list or compose any new party executives of APC as of moment as there was no need for such.
“Party members are advised to disregard any call from any quarters for the composition of new set of party executives. Hon. Bolarinwa as the State Chairman, reaffirm that all executive members of the Party at all levels, ward, local and state remain sacrosanct and undisputable.
“I therefore call on those who are on the mission to destabilise the party to have a rethink, retrace their steps and succumb to party rules in accordance with our constitution which remains supreme in running the party. I remain, for the purpose of emphasis, the only source for the authentication of exco members of Kwara APC”, the chairman added.
While some of the party men had hoped that the situation should get attention of concerned party stakeholders to douse the tension within the party, it however appeared to be escalating as shortly after the release of the chairman’s statement, the Sango ward of the party in Ilorin South Local Government was in the new as factions of the Governor and Bolarinwa traded words over party disagreement.
For some of the Governor’s supporters, the situation has rightly forced Abdulrazaq to constitute his own team which appeared to be what is on ground when the composition of the cabinet and appointments so far are considered. But how far the new team who are mostly greenhorns can go to deliver for the governor remains to be seen in the midst of seasoned political hawks that are reportedly waiting for the right time to strike.