Hammed Shittu writes that crisis is brewing in the Kwara State chapter of the All Progressives Congress over the appointment of persons into the Transition Implementation Committee
After the successful electoral victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in some states of the federation including Kwara, members and supporters of the party have been waiting endlessly for appointments into boards/parastatals either in their states or at the federal level.
This ugly development has put many of them in a very poor condition as the current administration in both the state and the federal levels are moving on and by the middle of next year, another politicking would commence and this would not be good for them, as their contribution to the success of their party might have been in vain.
In Kwara, this is not different as some members and supporters of the party that had worked for the electoral victory of the APC have been waiting to get secure appointments since the inauguration of the present administration led by Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed for second term in office. Apart from the appointment of some commissioners, special assistants and advisers, no other appointment has come either as chairman or members of boards and parastatals for the members of the APC in the state.
In view of this development, the recent move to constitute the Transition Implementation Committee (TIC) for the 16 local government councils in the state after the expiration of tenure of office of the present council chairmen in the state has started to cause ripples among the members and supporters of APC in the state.
The outgoing council chairmen came into office on October 26, 2013 and their tenure of three years would come to an end on November 10, this year. The outgoing chairmen were elected into office under the banner of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2013 but later defected into the APC, citing intra party crisis in the PDP ahead of 2015 general election.
Since then, the outgoing council chairmen have been functioning and ruling their councils under the banner of the APC till date. However, in order to ensure justice and equity in the appointment, the leadership of the party in the state led by Governor Ahmed and the state chairman of the party, Alhaji Isola Balogun Fulani has asked for the submission of names across the 193 wards in the state.
Sources close to the APC told THISDAY that the action of Governor Ahmed came on the heels of “recent developments within the party that necessitated the new decision” among others. The APC, it was gathered, has directed party chairmen across the councils in the state to submit names for consideration as TIC members.
It was further learnt that the decision was part of the outcome of the meeting the APC leadership held in Ilorin, the state capital recently. According to another source, the governor has settled for a streamlined member-TIC to cut cost due to the current economic reality in the state and the country at large.
The source added that, “Yes, barring any last minute changes in decision, Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed will put in place a Transition Implementation Committee (TIC) upon the exit of the 16 local government chairmen in the state.
“And already, the state chapter of the party has directed party chairmen in the local governments to submit names to be considered for appointment into the committee after the meeting that was held on the matter at the party secretariat on Friday.
“The party is always very conscious of the existing laws when taking any decision on the issue of governance to better the lots of the state and this one is not an exception”.
It added that the governor would settle for a 4-member TIC to drastically reduce cost and meet salary obligations of the local government workers. But since this development, the nomination of names has started causing crisis in some of the local government councils in the state.
For example, in Moro local government council of the state, the release of names of the transition committee had caused crisis among the top chieftain of the party in the local government.
The chairman of the party in the local government, Alhaji Ladi Amao, according to THISDAY checks, has been accused of not following the due process as laid down by the leadership of the party in the nomination of persons to be appointed as members of the transition committee in the local government councils in the state.
Chairman of the Elders Forum of the local government, Alhaji Ibrahim Adisa accused the chairman of the party in the local government of violating the laid down procedures, rules and directive of the main organ of the APC in the state, adding that “In the process, we identified seven wards out of 10 wards that would not benefit from the arrangement as one of the nominees for the TIC is from the Malete ward, where the present lawmaker representing the area in the state House of Assembly comes from”.
He said “Apart from this, the vice chairman of Moro local government council and the Kwara State Independent Electoral Commissioner as well as the nominee, who is also the husband of the present vice chairman of the council come from Malete ward of the council”.
He however threatened that he would petition the state secretariat of the party and Saraki over the ugly development in the council. But the senatorial leader of the APC, Alhaji Isiaka Oniwa has denied the allegation being raised in some quarters in Moro council area, saying the candidates that emerged were true representatives of the people of the council.
As the dust raised by this exercise is yet to settled in Moro, the members of the APC in Ilorin West and East local government councils have kicked against the purported imposition of some names in the proposed composition of the TIC members in the council.
Reports from some council areas in both Kwara North and South senatorial districts remain the same as some members of the party in the affected council areas have bemoaned the perceived imposition of names on the list of the proposed TIC members in the affected local government councils.
The development, according to THISDAY investigations, might not be unconnected with the recent suspension of the chairman of the APC in Ilorin West local government council of the state.
In a terse statement issued by the state Publicity Secretary of the APC, Alhaji sulyman Buhari, a copy of which was made available to THISDAY, “All Progressives Congress wishes to announce the suspension of the chairman of the party in Ilorin West local government council, Alhaji Suleiman Olarnewaju Balah.
“This action became inevitable owing to Alhaji Balah’s deliberate insubordination and willful sabotage of lawful party directive. The suspension order takes immediate effect. In his instead, the next ranking officer of the party has been directed to take over the leadership of the party in Ilorin West local government.
“We urge member of the party in Ilorin West local government council and indeed other local government council areas of the state to be steadfast and rededicate themselves to the good ideals of the APC and its leadership”.
Meanwhile, as this infighting continues in the party over the composition of the TIC, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has vowed to oppose the composition of the TIC in the state.
Chairman of the PDP in the state, Chief Iyiola Oyedepo described the move as unconstitutional and illegal. Oyedepo, who berated the low performances of the outgoing council chairmen in the state vowed that the PDP would challenge the planned composition of TIC in the 16 councils of the state if the state government goes ahead to do so.
But the chairman, Association of All Local Government Council of Nigeria (ALGON), Alhaji Lateef Okandeji, who denied the claim of non-performance by the outgoing chairmen in the state said, “Despite the dwindling federal allocations to the councils in Kwara, the outgoing council chairmen have been able to add values to the socio economic growth of the rural populace in the last three years”.
Okandeji, who is the chairman of Ilorin East local government, said that “The council chairmen in the 16 councils of the state have impacted positively on the lives of the rural populace in the areas of education, health and infrastructure among others”.
But with this current intra-party crisis in APC over the nomination of the transition implementation committees, it clearly behooves the leadership of the party especially Saraki to rise up to the challenge and bring it under control by ensuring that things are done right.
It is therefore worthy of mention that the TIC idea may be dead on arrival and if care is not taken, the APC could play into the hands of the opposition, legally speaking. The truth is that the law of the state does not support the idea of TIC but does the extension of the council chairmen pending the time an election is held. This much, the Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General of the state, Hon. Kamaldeen Ajibade was said to have ironed out with the state assembly sometime ago, when a similar circumstance arose.
Even the Commissioner for Local Government, Alhaji H.I Mohammed, sources say is not comfortable with the idea because he is not in a position to defend it as it is brazenly against the law of the administration of the local governments. But a majority of those opposed to the idea are counting on the Speaker of the state assembly, Hon. Ahmad Ali, who holds a Ph.D in law to intervene, using his legal and legislative experience to douse the simmering tension.
Curiously too, while the governor is seriously pondering the ITC idea, perhaps for political expediency and which has hitherto generated ill-feelings in the party in the state, he is yet to formally brief the state assembly knowing clearly that he could not do any such thing without the approval of the assembly as far as local government affair is concerned.
As it is, the way out seems to lie in political and legal common sense without having to stretch the patience of the people, who are already wearied by the seemingly unrealistic promises of change by the APC. But should the governor pulls this through, which is unlikely given the complexity of the dynamics involved, the APC might open its flaks to the bashing of the already hurting PDP and the outcome is certainly unpredictable.
It is therefore worthy of mention that the TIC idea may be dead on arrival and if care is not taken, the APC could play into the hands of the opposition, legally speaking. The truth is that the law of the state does not support the idea of TIC but does the extension of the council chairmen pending the time an election is held.