LG Congresses: A troubled affair for APC in Kwara

The local government congresses of the Kwara State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has come and gone quite alright, but it has no doubt left in its wake sour tales in the party that may continue to define it in the forthcoming 2023 election in the state.

While the APC after the nationwide exercise on Saturday has rolled out the celebration drums basking in the euphoria of a “peaceful and fanfare” congresses, party insiders have criticized the “forced gala” and accused the party of sponsoring a hypnotic narrative that will further damage the reputation of the party with catastrophic consequences in the days ahead in the state.

Although there have been apparent reason to believe that the party’s roof is on fire and that all is not well with the party before the weekend exercise, the last 24 hours that preceded that event was a pointer to the impact that its burning roof will have on the whole house when it finally collapse.

The drama of what to expect during the congresses was first rehearsed at the Banquet Hall a day to the exercise by the group loyal to Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq when the supporters of some notable dramatis personnel who are presently at logger heads dramatized some aspect of the scenes to expect from the “Saturday Morning Movie”.

Act 1 Scene 1

The scene was at the banquet hall in an event that was meant to rally everybody together within the AA’s camp and adopt a consensus for their preferred choices during the election, but it turned out to be a free for all affair with some security agencies reportedly compromised in the process.

It was gathered that policemen and other security agents had a hectic time at the Kwara Government’s banquet hall on Friday as several splinter groups all loyal to the governor struggle to get their candidates sworn in and recognised officially at the ward level, ahead of the Saturday’s exercise.

According to report, “The large turnout of supporters, who were singing and dancing carried placards with different inscriptions hailing or degrading one politician or the other, led to commotion among them, as some of them engaged in a free for all.

“Officers of a security agency in the state acting on the authority of a certain lawmaker beat and molested the factional chairman-elect of the Magaji Ngeri ward, Murtala Ibrahim Kokorin at the inauguration venue”.

Kokorin was said to be a rival and opponent to Murtala Ibrahim Oforo who is backed by the House of Assembly leader, Hon Mogaji Olawoyin. The ‘attempt’ to placate him with the position of an assistant local government ex officio met a brick wall at the end of the day.

Narrating Kokorin’s ordeal, one of his scribes was reported to have said, “They called him from the party’s national headquarters in Abuja to congratulate him as the duly elected chairman of the Magaji Ngeri ward. The caller also asked him to come to the state banquet hall by 10:00 am on Friday for his inauguration. His name is on the list in Abuja.

“Immediately after the call, the majority leader of the state Assembly also called him to confirm his name, and after he discovered he was the one, he dropped the call. Later on, he sent someone to him by the name Abdullahi Nakeeb requesting his passport. He told him they wanted to put his name down as the assistant local government ex-officio which he rejected.

“So he went to the venue as instructed from Abuja. But to our dismay, before we could know what was happening, some security officials, acting on the instruction of people from “the other side” with the support of certain godmother from Abuja started beating him and dragged him out of the venue.

While speaking on the issue, Kokorin who appealed for calm stated that he is not ready to back out on the mandate given to him by the people.

“I want to use this medium to call on all members to continue attending our weekly meetings. We will continue with our meetings. Well have the number and not just relying on the power that be,” he said.

Act 1 Scene 2

For supporters of former senator Ajadi Makanjuola and Hon. AbdulRasaq Owolabi both of Ifelodun Local Government, the Banquet Hall scenario was a continuation of where they left off during the muscle flexing that initially characterized the nomination of Mrs Harriet Afolabi Oshatimehin which witnessed some fireworks at the House of Assembly that delayed her confirmation by the lawmakers.

At the banquet hall, despite the “reconciliation”, it became the continuation of the hangover that dogged Oshatimehin’s screening among supporters of Ajadi and Owolabi as they turned the venue into a “theatre of war” with a shouting match that incorporated dancing and singing that later culminated into a brawl.

Act 1 Scene 3

Now while the Saturday congresses were ongoing, the state chairman APC caretaker committee Alhaji Abdullahi Samari expressed delight that the process was “peaceful and orderly throughout the state”.

“So far so good, the reports I have indicate that congress went on well in all the 16 local government areas. The congress was conducted peacefully. It was consensus all through,” Samari said.

His position was echoed by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Political Matters Alhaji Abdullateef Alakawa who urged party members to continue to support the vision of Governor and work as members of the same family irrespective of their “differences”.

But while the party officials loyal to the governor have maintained that it held a “peaceful LG congress” that even attracted commendation from INEC, it was however characterized with inter-party squabbles and parallel exercises among its members and the faction of the minister for information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed respectively.

In Ifelodun, the biggest local government in the state with the biggest political problem in the present admiration, the Hon Owolabi/AGF Salaudeen political “showboating” almost marred the exercise before the intervention of “stakeholders”.

A source in the know who spoke on the issue said “Yes, we had issues initially which dragged the exercise for several hours but it was later resolved and you know its about party supremacy. Among all the leaders, none of them can say publicly that the congress was inconclusive despite the issues that characterized it in Share”, the source said.

It was however gather that following the development, the governor’s camp in Ifelodun has decided to convey an enlarged “reconciliation” meeting in the coming weeks to prevent the impending “implosion”. While this was going on, the Bashir Omolaja Bolarinwa (BOB) led group was holding their parallel exercise in Idofian with different set of its own leaders.

In Asa, while Alakawa was leading the AA members, the Lai group converged on one of the party’s facilities donated by a Lagos based council chairman from Kwara popularly known as Ajifat. Same scenario was cinematized at Irepodun where the lawmaker representing Irepodun Constituency, Felix Tayo–Awodiji teamed up with the House of Representatives member for Irepodun/Ekiti/Isin/Oke-Ero federal constituency with its attendant bickering, the faction of Lai Mohammed and the likes of Kayode Ogunlowo were having their own also.

Down to Ilorin West, as the House Leader, Hon Magaji Olawoyin’s faction gathered at the Kwara State Council of Art and Culture, another drama was going across other local governments in the central. The scenario was replicated among some leaders in Kwara North also it was gathered.

However, while both groups have continued to draw their daggers, the decision of the court case instituted by BOB will no doubt make or mar the party in the state whose member plagued by the protracted crisis are already finding a safe haven in the PDP and YPP. For the APC, it is indeed a troubled congress in Kwara.

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