By Mumini AbdulKareem
A former commissioner and strong ally of Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq has narrated how some aggrieved leaders of the party connived to deny the Governor huge amount of money and campaign items brought to the state during before the 2019 governorship election.
The immediate past Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Barrister Salman Jawondo while speaking with National Pilot on the leadership crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress (APC) further noted that most of the aggrieved leaders led by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed have long been at the forefront of plotting against the emergence of the Governor.
According to him, while the scheming to block the emergence of the governor as the party’s candidate was on, the aggrieved leaders made efforts to lure Senator Suleiman Makanjuola Ajadi, ceding the senatorial slot of Kwara South to him during meetings where they freely allocated portfolios to themselves.
Jawondo said the real problem behind the protracted crisis in the party is beyond the issue of 2023 adding that the aggrieved leaders are crossed because the governor has refused to be pocketed.
None of the Governor’s opponents, he noted, can stop him from getting a second term ticket when the time comes.
He said: “The summary of the whole APC crisis is that some of us don’t really understand the meaning of the word change but only just mouthing it without really believing in it or knowing what it is all about. Some believe the change we are talking about is that of personality, that is the group that Iyiola Oyedepo and the likes belong to. They are aggrieved because they were not allowed to pocket the governor.
Oyedepo and some of them that are shouting today met people like us in this struggle, he had been with Saraki before now.
Coming to issue of the party, I agree with Oyedepo that it’s not about the issue of 2023 like he said, it predates the election. But you see among all the aspirants that contested, the present Governor was the least considered to emerge. Some of them did not give him chance at all.
“There was a meeting we had somewhere then, the venue which I will not like to mention. There they were trying to see how all of us in central can come together and produce a consensus candidate. But the Governor’s name was not even in the consideration before I objected to it. They did not even reckoned with him or consider him fit for the job.
“That was the way they started and I said irrespective of their position or opinion about the Governor then, if we come out with a consensus without him, then we have not agreed and moreover, we can’t rule out anybody from the race yet. So when the Governor eventually emerged, some of them thought it was a dream and up till today, they are still sleeping and dreaming. Some of them who thought they were the vanguard of the struggle started allocating positions to themselves from Governorship, Dep Governor among others. But the emergence of the Governor changed a lot of their permutations”, he added.
Jawondo said after the Governor’s emergence, before his swearing-in, they held a meeting and started the “Jeun Ko Sinwo” agenda led by Oyedepo which was what gave birth to AA group.
He added that “The concept of AA was to ensure the Governor have his own people who can defend him against those who wants to distract him. The reason was to allow the Governor to face governance and then the AA group will face and play politics with his opponents.
Explaining further, Jawondo said what happened when the governor emerged was quite unfortunate.
“In a state whereby there is no governorship candidate, the highest public office holder is the leader of the party which automatically put Alhaji Lai Mohammed in that position but when the gubernatorial candidate emerges, he automatically becomes the coordinator of the presidential campaign all over the state and supposed to handle all the campaign materials.
“But the 450 motorcycles, 15 buses and hundreds of millions that came to the state then, the candidate and the coordinator who was supposed to be in charge did not know anything about it. It was a group sponsored by Lai Mohammed called LAMCO that distributed these items giving party vehicles to personal friends. Alhaji Lai Mohammed did not campaign with us anywhere in Kwara State and even Bashiru Omolaja Bolarinwa who is my good friend only attended campaign with us in Kwara South. It was a deliberate decision at the exco level that they should not campaign with the governor because he was not their candidate, what type of a party is that, he queried.
On the second term ambition of the Governor, the election is not going to be about party alone. If they are thinking that… and in any event, they can’t even stop the Governor from contesting in 2023. Oyedepo recently said it that they may likely go to another party which they have already started. But is not the first time, they attempted it in 2019. See, after the emergence of the Governor as the candidate of the party, then the Oke-Ero/Isin by election came up won by Raheem Ajulo-Opin. They played some tricks thinking that if he did not win, they will move out but when we won, they still went ahead allocating positions. They gave somebody governor, deputy, senators in Kwara South and north and gave Ajadi senatorial ticket for Kwara South who rejected it that he was not part of them and was not a desperate person. They can’t stop the Governor from getting the ticket if he wants and if we compare the electorates with the number of politicians, we are not up to one third, so it is the electorates that will decide in Kwara State”, he submitted.
By Mumini AbdulKareem