By Ahmed Ajikobi and Mike Adeyemi
Crisis tearing apart Kwara All Progressive Congress, APC worsened on Saturday as two factional chairmen emerged at the party’s state congress held in Ilorin, the state capital.
At a parallel congress held by the two feuding factions of the party, Prince Sunday Fagbemi emerged Chairman of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq group while the embattled former chairman of the party, Hon. Bashir Omolaja Bolarinwa, a.k.a BOB emerged Chairman of the “Loyal APC” group. The “Loyal APC” had in its fold, eminent members of the party in Kwara State which include Minister for Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of state for Transportation, Senator Gbemi Saraki, House of Representatives Member, AbdulGaniyu Cook-Olododo and member State House of Assembly, Prince Saheed Popoola, among others.
Fagbemi upon his emergence pledged that his team “would lead by example and work with everyone to strengthen the party”.
Fagbemi, a long-standing ally of Governor AbdulRazaq was announced as consensus chairman.
“I thank His Excellency, our party leaders, elders and delegates for the confidence reposed in me. I also want to thank my predecessor, Alhaji Abdullahi Samari, for holding forth so well for the party. We will soon reel out our plans and we will start with genuine reconciliation of our brothers and sisters of the same family,” he said to a thunderous applause.
“We will be transparent in all our dealings. We will hit the ground running and will soon intimate the public on the direction we will take.”
He emerged alongside 35 others as members of the state executive council of APC, all products of bottom-up consensus among party stakeholders.
The congress was attended by Governor AbdulRazaq; his deputy Kayode Alabi; House of Assembly Speaker, Yakubu Salihu-Danladi; Senators Ibrahim Yahaya Oloriegbe; Lola Ashiru; House of Reps members; House of Assembly principal officers and members; cabinet members; APC National Chairmanship hopeful and Turaki of Ilorin, Mallam Saliu Mustapha; and several other party leaders.
The congress was conducted by a seven-person National APC Headquarters committee led by Prof Emmanuel Dandaura, and witnessed by officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The congress began with Dandaura announcing the procedures for the exercise as laid down in the APC laws and regulations.
“We started very well since our arrival. We held a stakeholders meeting where we explained the modalities and sought the buy-in of everyone and we are impressed by the conduct,” Prof. Dandaura said.
“After the screening, we established that one candidate each obtained form for each of the positions and we are therefore going for consensus in line with the guidelines of the party,” he said.
Other members of the APC congress committee are Ishiaku Bako (Secretary); Jonathan Maina; Izaleku Yakubu; Steven Ajuwa; Prince Juliana Precious and Rekiya Ibrahim.
Bolarinwa on his own part emerged alongside other new members of the executive through an affirmative process.
Announcing the new executive, Dr Bolaji Afolabi who served as returning officer said the new executive emerged by wish of the majority members of the party.
Chief Theophilous Adeboye Sunday, Issa Isiaka Agboji emerged as vice chairman and Secretary respectively, Abolaji Olaide Rahmat as Woman Leader, Senatorial Chairmen North, Joseph Ndanusa Tsado; AbdulRaheem Yusuf Akorede, Central and Barr. Rasak Alabi, South while Comrade Sunkanmi Afolayan emerged Youth Leader among other executive members.
Speaking with our reporter shortly after the exercise, the state APC Assistant Treasurer, Mohammed Kamal described the reelection of BOB as the party chairman as the wish of the people, having solidified the party all along.
“The state chairman of APC in Kwara today is Bashir Omolaja Bolarinwa. He has been very upright and a good leader. He solely worked for the victory of the party in the last election hence the reason people chose him to remain the party chairman.
“What we had today is an affirmation when the entire Kwara APC wanted him to stare the party again. Though he was not here physically,” Kamal said.
He added that the lingering crisis in Kwara APC has no likelihood of getting to an end as the initiator of the brawl is still feasting on it.
“I don’t see any reconciliation in sight in Kwara APC. It is funny that the governor could not even manage his camp. They had dual Congresses in their last two Congresses.
“Today we had it reliably that in their camp that some delegates where not recognised and they unleash mayhem on themselves. The AA faction is a divided house already,” he affirmed.
Also speaking, a member of Kwara House of Assembly representing Ojomu/Balogun constituency of Offa, Hon. Saheed Popoola has said the only option for peace to reign in Kwara APC is for the governor of Kwara State AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq to withdraw from contesting in the next election.
“The only reconciliation in Kwara APC is for the governor to withdraw from the race and he should leave the party for the party people. He came to meet us in the party and he wanted to hijack the party from us.
“So the only panacea for peace is for him to say he is not contesting again. Whether he likes it or not, he will not win this coming election,” Popoola assured. In the same vein, a serving member of the Federal Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission, Shuaib Yaman Abdullahi said the promises made by the governor of Kwara State to the electorates is largely unfulfilled, saying the people of Kwara State are disappointed in him.
“I think there is much more for the governor to do. His promises to the electorates have largely remained unfulfilled. We can see in the faces of Kwarans that are disappointed in the governor,” Yaman said.