By Hammed Shittu in Ilorin
Minister of Information and Culture and Kwara State leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said Alhaji Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq remained the valid candidate of the APC in Kwara State.
He however dismissed the rumour that his election in the party’s primaries had been quashed by a Kwara court.
The Minister confirmed this to newsmen in Ilorin on Friday evening after meeting with the state executives of the party to assess the level of preparations for the 2019 elections.
He urged Kwarans to discountenance the rumour making the rounds that the recent judgement of an Ilorin High Court invalidated the candidacy of Alhaji Abdulrazaq.
According to him, “I read the court judgement and there is nowhere in the judgement that spoke about our candidate not being the valid candidate.
“Of course we have already appealed the judgement for other reasons but as of today our candidate, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, remains the authentic candidate of the party and that is the situation today with INEC,” Alhaji Mohammed”
He described the rumour as the handiwork of the dissolved party executives, who were working extra time to spread falsehood.
“The ‘Shaku-Shaku’ faction of the APC in Kwara State will try everything and we hear they are saying everywhere that INEC has disqualified Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq. No! It’s absolutely false.
“There is only one candidate of the APC and that candidate is Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, and as we speak today he is in Uyo with Mr. President to launch the presidential campaign of the party,” the Minister said.
He also dismissed the allegation that he deliberately sponsored the live coverage of the annual meeting of the Ilorin Emirate Descendants Union on the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) in order to embarrass the Emir.
Alhaji Mohammed distanced himself from the allegation, saying he was not even aware that the event would hold.
He blamed the PDP in Kwara State for the rumour, noting that the party (PDP) had been circulating false stories about him in recent times in order to pitch him against the Ilorin Emirate.
“The PDP in Kwara State is in panic mode. They are in total disarray. They know they have lost this (forthcoming) election so they have resorted to blackmail and outright lies. How could I have arranged a live coverage for a programme I was not even aware was taking place.
“It’s a lie. I was not aware there was a meeting so how could I arrange the (live) coverage. I challenge anybody who has any proof to come out and say that I was responsible for the live coverage,” Alhaji Mohammed said.
He disclosed that already, 10 persons had appeared in court in connection with the mayhem that disrupted the event at the Emir’s place, along with some miscreants who destroyed the billboards of the APC in Ilorin.
The Minister said the people of Kwara were ripe, primed and ready for change in the leadership of the state and that no amount of blackmail could deter them from ousting the PDP from power in the forthcoming elections