The race for who emerges the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the forthcoming local government election in Isin and Kaiama councils has pitched some notable leaders of the party against one another. HEAD POLITICS, MUMINI ABDULKAREEM writes on the issue.
As the countdown for the November18 local government election draws nearer, the race for who becomes the candidate of the APC has been causing some ripples across local governments in the state.
As at the last count, no fewer than seven local councils out of the sixteen in the state have had issues agreeing on which zone and candidate is best suited to stand for the contest in the face of the arrangement allegedly brokered by the state chapter of the party.
For some of the councils, although agreement had allegedly been brokered for some of the wards that are yet to benefit any political patronage to get the ticket this time, the interest of some powerful party chieftains who have been sponsoring stooges have heated the polity.
According to a source who confided in Pilot Politics over the matter, this was the reason why some of the aspirants have been so desperate with the audacity to make false claims about their real academic qualification.
It was gathered that several aspirants who had claimed to have obtained degrees and Higher National Diplomas from universities and polytechnics could not defend the claims when confronted with the allegation by the party. Some aspirants who claimed to be National Certificate of Education (NCE) holders, were discovered to be petty traders in the market.
The issue, which the source further exaggerated as worse than the certificate forgery that rocked the state recently was said to have baffled and amuse top party leaders when they were briefed.
Away from false claims and alleged desperation on the part of some party members to emerge the next elected council chairmen of their respective local governments, the issue has caused disquiet and pitch some top stakeholders against one another.
For instance, the disagreement over zoning brewed in Asa Local Government before the intervention of some powerful stakeholders to quickly nip it in the bud and prevented it from escalating. A source said “we have agreed to follow what the party decided and to work with and support any candidate selected as one indivisible entity now.
But the same could not be said of Kaiama were the choice of whom to present as chairmanship candidate of the ruling APC in the poll has generated uproar with elders of the party yet to agree on a consensus candidate.
Pilot Politics gathered that the issue has created a gulf among party elders in the area, who are said to be routing for different aspirants. The chairmanship seat in the council had reportedly been zoned to Constituency A, which comprised of Gwanabe 1, Gwanabe 2, Banni, Gwria and Adena wards. It was however later streamlined to three wards by the 11-man committee set up by the party, which consequently led to emergence of Usman Yusuf (Banni); former member of the 7th state House of Assembly, Aliyu Umar Monde (Gwanabe 2) and Abdullahi Bata Abubakar (Gwanabe 1). The issue is “The other two wards have had their fair share of political appointment; it is only Banni that has not benefitted so much from this arrangement,” a source added.
While stakeholders are said to be finding solutions to the issue before it gets out of hand in Kaiama, Isin local government has not been peaceful either with the commissioner for Social Development and Culture, Iyabo Adewuyi, member representing Isin in the state assembly, Honourable Funsho Abodunrin, former special assistant on Youth Mobilisation, Prince Bashir Madandola, among other leaders of the APC reportedly locked in tussle over choice of candidate for the local government chairmanship contest. Although, she later did not purchase the chairmanship aspirant form, the issue reportedly snowballed into as a result of Mrs Iyabo Adewuyi’s alleged interest in the council election in Isin for which she was accused of wanting to jettison the existing zoning arrangement.
As a result of the issue, some selected youth of Isin allegedly appealed to the leadership of the party for what it termed “educated aspirants” in the coming council chairmanship election. Since then, the council and some of the prominent stakeholders have found the centre difficult to hold.
The first salvo for the hostilities in Isin was allegedly fired by some “youths and elders” through a press release jointly signed by Elder Emmanuel Kalejaiye and Comrade Segun Ibidoye made available to this medium.
The statement emphasised that for the progress and informed representation of local government, they are totally against the continuous foisting of uneducated politicians as it’s representative both at the state and local government level, adding that the quality of representative of the local government at the State Executive Council (SEC) is a disservice to LG.
“With the exception of our House of Assembly member, who is a Surveyor and well read, majority of our other representatives are either not lettered or half lettered and this has negatively rubbed off on us as LG”, the statement read. It said the council “is the worst for it” with “Mrs Iyabo Adewuyi, who represents Isin as a Commissioner in a cabinet comprising of PhD holders, Pharmacists, celebrated bankers among others. The release further went on to promote Femi Adeyemi from Edidi ward for the seat as “core Sarakite, who has worked for the party and has “two masters degrees”.
But in her defence, Adewuyi, who spoke exclusively to Pilot Politics described her opponents as “anti-Sarakite”, who are only motivated for the race because of position.
According to her, those who are sponsoring such write up in the media, wanting to reap where they did not sow and had worked against Saraki in the past as known enemy of the dynasty. They only want to come and take advantage of the struggle people like her have fought whp stood by the dynasty in the midst of adversity.
Following her “reply”, immediate past Youth Empowerment Coordinator (YEC) for Isin Local government, Barrister Muhammed Owolabi Aminu, responded and insisted on the need to respect the existing rotation policy regarding appointment in the local government.
While speaking with Pilot Politics, Aminu said the policy, which was endorsed by the late Olusin was intended to guarantee equitability and fairness in the distribution of political portfolios and provide opportunity for everybody to be carried along in the scheme of things.
He added that casting aspersions on political opponents should not be the pastimes of politicians who should be concerned about adding value to the community.
He described Femi Adeyemi as core Sarakite who has worked for the party.
He said “We have a tradition in Isin known to everybody, including the leader of the party in the state and the Governor. The council is subdivided into two, not because of disunity but for smooth running of the administration and distribution of political posts being rotated between Isin-Oke and Isin-Isale comprising eleven wards.
We have two major positions being rotted by these two axes, which is the elective council chairmanship and House of Assembly. Any other positions could be picked from anywhere depending on the performances of each ward.
“The late Olusin of Isanlu-Isin that succeeded the present one, held meeting with all the political office holders and politicians that if we say those little villages in Isin should not be patronised in terms of political appointments, we are likely to have problems and we agreed it should be spread to allow participation of everybody”, he added.
Barrister Aminu noted that it will be a disservice and against the existing arrangement to now try to deny Edidi ward what they are eligible to all because of politics and vested interest.
But while the tone of the narrative is being “amplified” in Isin by the gladiators in the arena, some members of the APC are already calling for middle course to allow peace to reign
Hence, following the war of words that had dominated the contest for the forthcoming local government election, a chieftain of the APC in the council has sued for peace among the “warring parties”.
According to a former board member of Kwara State College of Education, Ilorin, Alhaji Rafiu Ogunlade, warring party stalwarts should tolerate one another and embrace peace.
Ogunlade, who warned against hate speech, further called for maturity and understanding in the politics of the council, adding that factionalism, sectionalism, campaign of calumny and hate speeches should be eschewed in “this electioneering period” for the council election.
He said as a result of the sudden demise of former Head of State, General Sanni Abacha, the mandate given to Chief Bisi Oloruntoba from Alla ward then was abruptly brought to an end, adding that the ward deserves consideration and compensation.
He said the ward has a very strong voting power, which placed it first in the percentage rating of 2015 general elections in Isin.
The APC chieftain said members of APC in Isin are looking unto “our leader and Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, to nominate a candidate who possessed high political acumen, political maturity, loyalty-to the party, faithfulness-to the members, socio-economic potential, high humility, accessibility, integrity and consistency. Among the following “good aspirants: Prince Oladipupo Festus Omole (Alla), Hon. Femi Adeyemi (Edidi), Hon. Michael Iyanda (Isanlu I) and Mr Oyelere Oyinloye (Olla).”
As it stands now, the party, which of course, has the capacity and leadership to stabilise the ship for victory in the coming council elections and other contests in the state ahead of 2019, should do the needful for a resounding success. This is particularly necessary now that the opposition PDP in the state seem to be putting the right step forward for reconciliation.