Kwara 2023: Will clampdown tactics guaranty Abdulrazaq guber ticket?

The recent arrest and subsequent remand of some ‘opposition’ figures in Kwara State have once again brought to the fore what political watchers described as the desperation of Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq to silence opposing views as the 2023 election gathers momentum in the state. But will such action secure him the ticket?
Last month, the arrest and subsequent remand of Olusegun Olushola popularly know as Sholyment of the PDP, Kayode Ogunlowo and Babatunde Saka, two key loyalists of Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed may already be a pointer of what to expect in the coming days as Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq continues his struggle for a second term ticket in the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the quest to govern the state for a final four years.
The arrest of the trio, among other things, may not only have ensured that the governor has worn himself more enemies as the 2023 electioneering gathers momentum in the state, it rather may have brightened the possiblity of the opposition and his critics teaming up with other aggrieved All Progressives Congress (APC) to team up to form a formidable force against his aspiration.
The Governor and his elder Sister Sen. Khairat Abdulrazaq-Gwadabe had petitioned the Police through the state ministry of Justice against Kayode Ogunlowo, Babatunde Saka and Olusegun Olusola Sholyment, alleging them of criminal defamation of Character, Public incitement against the government among others.
According to petition addressed to the Kwara State Commissioner of Police, dated July 22nd and titled “Request for Arrest and Investigation of Olusegun Olusola (Sholyment), Kayode Ogunlowo and Babatunde Saka” they were accused of Inciting Public Disturbance, Injurious Falsehood and Criminal Defamation which are contrary to sections 114, 393 and 392 of the Penal code law of the federal republic of Nigeria.
“From the available fact, Olusegun Olusola Sholyment, Kayode Ogunlowo and Babatunde Olusola Saka are Ilorin residents, Political jobbers and online blackmailers who specialises in the usage of social media to blackmail government officials and cause political instability in Kwara State and Nigeria as a whole”, the petition added.
However, the governor has come under fire over the action with many accusing him of crass intolerance to opposition views and deployment of state machinery to silence the opposition in a desperate bid to sell a distorted and jejune narrative to Kwarans about his administration.
Expectedly, it was the opposition PDP that opened the floodgate of the missiles that have been hauled at Abdulrazaq over the matter.
According to the party in a statement signed by the Publicity Secretary, Tunde Ashaolu the party condemned the “instigated” arrest and “illegal detention”. It further accused him of clampdown on dissenting voices.
The party noted that Sholyment being a responsible and law-abiding citizen, honoured the invitation of the Police and was subsequently detained on the order of Governor.
“This amount to reckless abuse of power and an infringement his fundamental human rights.
The party while recalling the similar detainment of another member, Lawal Sharafadeen, popularly known as Harabmoney over phantom allegation by an aide of the Governor, Obasanjo Alashi, aka SOJ warned that Kwara is slipping into a banana republic under the governor.
Also, a social critic and public commentator in the state, Ishowo Oluwatosin in his reply to the defence of the CPS to the Governor on the matter, Rafiu Ajakaye” described the governor’s spokesman intervention as nothing short of a double standard.
“The CPS has no conscience by vindicating his people, especially when people like Solace, Purity Boom and many others are within his circle.
“Harbouring such questionable elements within one’s government has defeated whatever common sense that needed to be made out of the issue. No one should be disappointed, conscience has been exiled.
However, it’s important to use “censor”, it tells us what is right or wrong and makes it clear that it is our choice to tilt arguments towards our sentiments and be ready to go all offensive in forcing a narrative.
“Is he (CPS) not on WhatsApp and other social media platforms to see the activities of his people, or it is legal for them to do so or fail to caution them because they possess an instrument of the state and using it as security and immunity?”, Oluwatosin added.
In his comment, a former APC chairman in Oyun, Tijani Olaegbe couched the governor’s action as executive tyranny in a fledging democracy.
According to him, democracy is losing motion, conscience is besieged and freedom of speech, one of the hallmarks of democratic dispensation is threatened by reactionary forces at the helms of affairs in the State.
“With the sorry State of governance in Kwara, can we then postulate that the divination of the gods of O to ge contraption, that foretold positive change and life in abundance, was fake, deceitful”, quoting Shakespeare’s obiter on the tragedy of Macbeth.
“And it was this twisted facts, swallowed hook, line and sinker, by the unsuspecting electorates that culminated in the mass support and submission to APC propaganda that injected false sense of better tomorrow into the mindset of eligible voters in the 2019 General Elections”, Olaegbe added.
While the APC have not commented on the issue publicly, it is an open secret that the minister’s camp lead by it’s factional caretaker chairman, Bashir Omolaja Bolarinwa have drawn the dagger with the governor.
The question now is, what is the Governor up to?
For Olaegbe, “It is simply to create a state of fear where every form of opposition is subdued and suppressed.
But how will that work and fetch him the coveted ticket if we may ask?
If anything, the Governor’s frantic and ‘brutal’ move ahead of the electoral process is only an admittance to the reality of the rejection already starring at him at the face both within this party and the opposition.
Rather than intensify efforts to sell an acceptable and appreciated narrative about his administration to Kwarans, the government has embarked on a journey of self-destruct by shooting him in the foot before the marathon through the latest development.
While is it not contestable that more of such clampdowns may be the hallmarks of the coming days, it is evident that it has however not dampened the zeal and spirit of the victims as attested to by their recent activities on the social media after their release.
It has even given the three firebrand critics hitherto on different pages, the opportunity of working on the same lane ahead of 2023.
The unfolding scenario will no doubt impact the polity to the detriment of the Governor and the new “tactics” to popularise his government by discrediting leading opponents and siege on opposing figures.

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