By Mumini AbdulKareem
The leadership crisis rocking the Kwara State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) escalated last Sunday with the suspension of the Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Adenike Oshatimehin-Afolabi over alleged anti-party activities.
The commissioners suspension along with some other leaders of the party in Ora, Ifelodun Local Government Area of Kwara State was contained in a resolution jointly signed by the ward chairman, Taofeeq Bolajoki Kareem, Vice, Ezekiel Owolabi and Women Leader, Mrs Mariam Moses.
Other executive members and stakeholders affected by the decision are Dr Ade Afolabi, Mr Segun Ogunsola, and Mr Yinusa Afolayan.
The party accused the embattled commissioner and others of embarking in anti-party activities detrimental to the progress and co-existence of the party members in the ward in particular, Ifelodun LGA and State, the statement added.
However, it was gathered that Oshatimehin-Afolabis suspension followed accusation by the local executives in the ward that she was allegedly working with Senator Makanjuola Ajadi to undermine the efforts of Governor Abdulrazaq over political differences.
Ajadi before now is believed to be a staunch supporter of the governor but there have been insinuation recently within the party that disagreement over support for persons nominated for appointments by Ajadi has strained their relationship.
According to sources in the ward, the commissioner has been at the forefront of campaign to discredit members of the AA Group, a political camp in the APC of the governors loyalists and sympathisers and their activities and drumming support for Peoples Frontier Movement (PFM), believed to be financed by Ajadi.
“She was indulging in anti-party. She said we should stop supporting AA and pledge our allegiance to the Peoples Frontier Movement (PFM) sponsored by Senator Ajadi and we should now be loyal to him.
She went about blackmailing us among our elders, traditional rulers and chiefs. Is she saying we should go and fight them? She was even threatening our ward chairman that he would be removed if he does not shift support to PFM. The commissioner wants to destroy the peace we have been able to reach.
‘‘When she was appointed, we accepted her wholeheartedly based on the love and loyalty to the governor despite our reservations. But she is now working against the same governor. Who knows what Senator Ajadi intends to do with the PFM forum in the future. So we need to be very careful and watchful. That is why we took the decision.
“This is all about our politics. The whole ward supported it and we have formally reported to the state executive and waiting for their response. How can individual be creating forum after the election that saw the governor emerged. Every forum should be under the umbrella of the party, why should one forum be superior to the party and they are even threatening to remove the chairman in the ward.
This is uncalled for and an anti-party. They want to take over the party despite all the good things the governor is doing going around telling traditional rulers to support PFM, is the Governor PFM.
“This is strictly party issue, we are not complaining about her commissionership or against it, we don’t have anything against her, but she is working for Ajadi against the governor and we will not close our eyes to that, a party source who spoke on the issue added.
Efforts to get the State Publicity Secretary of APC, Alhaji Tajudeem Aro for comment proved abortive over the issue as his two numbers did not connect .
But a member of the Local Government executives in Ora, Saheed Odeshile who confirmed the development said the suspension was lifted on Tuesday after the warring parties where summoned to a meeting by the Deputy Governor, Kayode Alabi.
‘‘The matter has been resolved. The highest authority has taken over and the called us to a meeting with her and we resolved everything. We hope to lift the ban latest Tuesday. They later realise that we are right and there is nothing like PFM. The commissioner should drop PFM agenda and work with the party and that is our interest.
‘‘The (truce) meeting was held at government house on Monday and we have discussed. They summoned both groups. Those present at the meeting were the Deputy Governor, Chief of Staff and SA Strategy and Planning among others. This is what we call a transparent government. they called all the parties concerned to resolve the issue. The only place they faulted us was that we should have notified the party or government before going public about it, he submitted.
Reacting to the development during a telephone chat earlier, the commissioner, Oshatimehin-Afolabi told National Pilot that it was all cheap politics and cheap propaganda adding that nobody suspended her.
“Nobody suspended me, its just mere politics and cheap propaganda. If they say I was ordering them to do PFM, they should say where I said it now. I never told anybody to do PFM, its just cheap propaganda. Things will unfold, I am APC and Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq to the core and I am working for the progress of the party and that of the state, she noted.
Asked whether she has been addressed by the governor since then over the issue, the commissioner said necessary steps are being taken and that is why you will notice that I am relaxed talking to you now, she added.
But according to Ajadi, those behind the allege suspension of the commissioner are jesters who cannot differentiate their left from right in politics.
“There is nothing like any suspension. Those behind it are just jesters making their normal jestings, that is all. There was never any meeting in Ora where such decision was taken or if its true, let them show you the picture.
“The last meeting held in Ora was about a week ago where the commissioner and all the party stakeholders were present. She was the one that funded the meeting and everybody commended her efforts in lifting the party beyond what it was before she became a commissioner. This was just a week ago, there was no meeting anywhere.
“What is AA and what is PFM. There is nothing like AA in the name of AA, anybody supporting Governor is AA and if PFM is a creation of Abdulrahman tendencies, then what is the analogy of saying somebody is a PFM. They are just beating about the bush, you know some people dont know their left from right politically, he submitted.
By Mumini AbdulKareem