By Mumini AbdulKareem
Strong indications emerged last night that Kwara State Governor, Mallam Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq has put machinery in place to take over the structure of the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) ahead of the 2023 elections.
The APC since forming the government in the state has found itself enmeshed in a fierce leadership crisis that had pitched the Governor against its Chairman, Bashiru Omolaja Bolarinwa who is said to have the backing of the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, and other top leaders of the party over appointments and style of leadership.
To this end, the Governor has reportedly commenced moves to weed out loyalists of the Bolarinwa faction from the party structure across the 16 Local Government Areas of the state in his bid to actualise the plot, National Pilot, learnt, last night.
Some local government party chairmen believed to be in the caucus of the party chairman and minister have already fallen casualty as a result of the development with the latest being the Ifelodun chairman, Alhaji Mohammed Shillo Awobimpe on Tuesday.
As a follow up to the alleged plan to take over the party structure, Governor Abdulrazaq has reportedly commenced the formation of groups under the name AA Support Group across the 16LGs of the state.
Investigation by this reporter revealed that some of the groups have been very active on Facebook and other social media and online platforms propagating activities of the Governor and mobilising support for him ahead of 2023 general elections.
A staunch loyalist of Governor Abdulrazaq and his top supporter among the APC leaders, Prince Sunday Fagbemi is said to be behind the emergence of the new groups supporting the state Chief Executive Officer.
A top source in the party who is familiar with the crisis and in the know of the new trend in the state confided in our reporter that the crux of the party’s crisis is all about next local government election and 2023 gubernatorial poll.
“The fact of the matter is that all these conspiracies and crisis being witnessed by the party in the state is all about 2023 gubernatorial election and the next year local government election.
“Led by the Governor and other members of the caucus, the plan is to make sure that before that time for the next rounds of elections in the state, party structure across the state is re-jigged to pave way for the emergence of their loyalists.
“This will enable the governor to have complete control of the party structure across the state and on the long run, nobody will be able to question or move against his authority and actions.
“So this is complete political game for 2023 and next year’s local government election in Kwara State”, the party chieftain added.
On Tuesday, the Chairman of the party, Bolarinwa condemned the arbitrary suspension in the party recently, describing those behind the move as an act of recklessness.
The Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Rafiu Ajakaye could not be reached on phone last night for his response. Reply to a whatsapp message sent to him on the issue was still being awaited before this paper went to bed last night.
But Fagbemi told this reporter that he has no apology over any insinuation by those he described as detractors adding that he has no apology to offer for his loyalty to the Governor.
“It is almost becoming an abnormity when anything they feel is not going well, they will always ascribe to me. But anytime the governor does things considered excellent, my name will be missing.
“This is coming from the stable of detractors and to whatever they are saying, I don’t have any apology. Everyone will have to call a dog a bad name to hang it and they just want the neck of somebody they will hang all their frustration.
“When a government is formed, since they say they are APC members, at least it is expected that they should be loyal to the government they have worked for. It is aberration for them to be doing otherwise. Those who feel that they have a grouse with the Governor; they should just take that to him straight and not me.
“I am not a member of the party executives and not presently a member of the government. But if they say it is wrong to be loyal to the governor, then they can find me guilty for being loyal. That is all, I have no apology to anyone”, Fagbemi submitted.