Kwara APC Crisis: Will Bolarinwa’s removal succeeds?

The tussle for the soul of the Kwara State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) reached a climax last week with news of the eventual removal of its caretaker chairman, Hon Bashiru Omolaja Bolarinwa. In this piece, ACTING EDITOR, MUMINI ABDULKAREEM looks at the implication of the development for the party and 2023 politics.
Last week, the crisis rocking the Kwara State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) took another dimension with the announcement of the eventual removal of the former caretaker chairman of the party, Hon Bashiru Omolaja Bolarinwa from office.
Bolarinwa’s removal which has further polarised the party members along partisan lines has reignited and festered the protracted internal wrangling that has engulfed the party shortly after it assumed power after the 2019 governorship election in the state.
Initial gra gra
The attempt by Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq to remove Bolarinwa started in 2019 shortly the party came to power. The governor and his chairman who have been involved in battle of supremacy over the leadership of the party engaged in a public spat during one of their trips to Abuja over the issue of non release of money for a party programme in the federal capital. Since then, it has been no love lost between the Governor and Bolarinwa who is strongly supported by the two ministers from the state, Alhaji Lai Mohammed and Sen Gbemisola Ruqayyat Saraki, despite the show of camaraderie and affection displayed by them at most public gatherings within and outside the state. But while the cat and mouse game between the duo continued, the apologists and supporters of the party’s ex-chairman described the Governor as political shrub who lacks the political sophistry and high powered intrigues to win the tussle.
News about BOB’s ouster first filtered into the state on Monday when the National Secretary of the APC, Senator John James Akpanudoedehe reportedly called to inform some party leaders in the state about a certain ‘peace terms’ that have been proposed by the National Caretaker Committee. The report said Akpanudoedehe had explained that Bolarinwa will be nominated as commissioner by Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq while Abdulahi Samari, his deputy from Kwara North will take over as acting Chairman. Following the issue, many meetings were convened by those in Bolarinwa’s camp some of who had earlier denied the removal which was later confirmed in a press conference by the aggrieved leaders declaring support and solidarity for BOB.
Eventual Removal
Signed by 15 leaders of the aggrieved members from the three senatorial districts like Chief Sunday Oyebiyi, Akogun Iyiola Oyedepo, Engr. Umaru Sha’aba, Isa Bio Ibrahim, Barr. Ladi Mustapha, M. T. Mamman, Akande Adefila, Hon. Saheed Popoola, Prof. Shuaib Abdulraheem, Senator Ahmed Zuruk, Alhaji Lukman Mustapha, Alhaji Waziri Olayiwola Gobir, Alhaji Saliu Mustapha, Alhaji S. Y. Abdullahi and Alhaji Tajudeen Audu, the APC elders “The Secretary of the National Caretaker Committee told us that the Chairman is said to have been removed on the complaint of the Governor of Kwara State, His Excellency, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq as he claimed that he could not work with the former.
“The complaint was sustained and made a subject of removal as a result of a connivance between the Governor of Kwara State and his Niger State counterpart and friend, His Excellency, Sanni Bello. The content of the complaints was not made available, neither to the Critical Stakeholders of the Party in Kwara State nor to the Chairman, Hon Bolarinwa. The decision of the Caretaker Committee was said to be based on the recommendations of the North Central Zone of the Party, under the Chairmanship of HE Sanni Bello. Governor Sanni Bello was said to have recommended that the authentic Chairman of the Party should be removed and be made a Commissioner in the cabinet of Kwara State. He also recommended that Abdullai Sanmari, the crony of the Governor of Kwara State and the leader of Abdulrahman Splinter AA group within Kwara APC, be made the Caretaker Chairman.
“With this recommendation, the smallest of the four tendencies that formed the new APC after the exit of Dr Bukola Saraki is now given a political edge that can never work. The whole thing appears to be a ploy by the National leadership of the APC to save their unpopular friend from political drowning at the coming congresses of the party in Kwara State”, the statement noted adding the move was made to ease the return of the Kwara Governor to get the APC ticket to contest for second term during the party’s national convention next year.
While rejecting the removal, the group said “We have resolved to reject the verdict of the National Caretaker Committee on the purported removal of Hon Bashir Omolaja Bolarinwa. It is worth nothing more than the value of the paper on which the letter given to Hon Sanmari Abdulahi is written. It certainly shall not work in Kwara State no matter who is behind it. Though when we told the Secretary that the decision could sink the party in the state, he said they really do not care. And he repeated during the conversation more than five times that he was acting under the instructions of the Chairman HE, Mai Mala Buni. We shall prove to those that aborted the peoples’ revolution foisting on our party the present situation since 2018 that Kwara is not an appendage of any outside power conspiracy. They continue to compromise our noble cause with these unacceptable decisions and we shall henceforth prove to those that are not popular at home but rather rely on political manipulations from outside that, the game is up”.
They however appealed to “President Muhammadu Buhari to save the party from the imminent destruction that this decision can engender in Kwara State.
Governor’s upper hand
Although Bolarinwa and his cohorts considered to be more experienced and politically sophisticated than the governor, the latter this time around according to party insiders and political analysts have shown a glimpse of his character and reach within the APC which he is determined to have. After many failed attempts in the past which gave rise to abusive songs and against him by supporters of Bolarinwa, Abdulrazaq stuck the bull’s eye by succeeding in pulling the rug from the feet of BOB despite the resistance and “gang up” by the chairman’s supporters including top and very influential leaders of the party who practically relocated to Abuja to abort this second coup. Bolarinwa succeeded the first onslaught of the governor during the last episode in Kwara Hotel where the governor was whisked away during the melee that erupted after one of the Governor’s supporters, on Rev Bunmi moved the motion to pass a vote of no confidence on Bolarinwa. All the political sagacity of chairman and his group and supporters sophistication could however not save the party chairman this time around.
What’s Next?
Already the latest development is causing ripples within the state chapter of the party especially as regards 2023 politics.
With the present situation, what might be glaring going forward is that the state will witnessed a lot of politic than governance making Kwara one of the first states to commence politicking ahead of the next election in the country.
Now will the aggrieved leaders dump the party for the Governor or vice versa since the latest development has shown that the centre could no longer hold? Is the stand of some aggrieved leaders like Hon Saheed Popoola that the Governor will be the one to leave the party for them because he met them there still feasible or it will be the other way round? For any of the APC camps in this tussle, is the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) an option to consider or the situation will lead to the birth of the third force in Kwara State, a kite that has already been flown by some youth political groups in the state. The coming days will no doubt be very interesting in the political circles of Kwara State.

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