Travails of “O To Ge” Movement in Kwara


Hammed Shittu writes that the lingering crises of confidence within the leadership of the All Progressives Congress in Kwara State has taken a turn for the worse

Kwara, the State of Harmony is one of the states in the federation that witnessed a paradigm shift in political leadership on May 29, 2019 after several years that opposition groups in the state had been making frantic effort to wrestle political leadership from the Saraki political dynasty.

The 2019 effort yielded positive result following the combined efforts of the leaders of the All Progressives Congress(APC) in the state and the formation of pressure group popularly known as “O to Ge” movement in the state.

The APC leaders, the movement and some elements within the state jointly fought and ensured that the last general election was used to send the Saraki dynasty back to political oblivion with the massive votes cast for the APC and all its candidates during the elections.

For the first time in the last 40 years of political domination of Saraki dynasty in the state, these elements in political opposition worked in unity, purposeful confidence and zeal of enthusiasm to ensure that the game was up for the Saraki dynasty in the state thereby leading to defeat of the scion of late Dr. Olusola Saraki and immediate past Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki and his party, Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) in that election.

The APC recorded electoral victory in all the state and national assembly seats and also crowned it with the governorship position of the state with the election of one of the sons of the first Senior Advocate of Nigeria from the northern region, former private secretary to late Sardauna of Sokoto and former Nigerian ambassador to the Cote D’Ivoire, Alhaji AbdulGaniyu Folorunso Abdulrazaq, Alhaji Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq under the banner of the APC in the state. The governor who had been trying for many times under different political platforms in the past political dispensation could not get it until the last general election.

Although, several factors have been raised over the defeat of the Saraki political dynasty during the polls but the only singular factor was that, the opposition elements and some residents of the state were said to have been tired over the continued control by the dynasty and therefore sought for a change of leadership in the state.

Apart from this, the perceived continued stay of Dr. Bukola Saraki in Abuja where he believes that those that he left the home for to be managing his political dynasty did a lot of harm to the dynasty, coupled with his crisis with some of his former political foot soldiers in the state, among others effected his total defeat.

Prior to that election, the members of the “O to Ge” movement who were mainly those that had benefited a lot from the Saraki political dynasty in the past years formed themselves into a pressure group to ensure the downfall of the dynasty, believing that, it will be to their advantage at the end of the day to the control the political leadership of the state.

Radio stations in Ilorin especially the private ones were awash with various comments against on the activities of the government then led by the Share town born politician and immediate past governor of the state, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed and the administration of the Dr. Saraki when he was the governor of the state.

The movement also sponsored series of programmes in one of the private radio stations in Ilorin and ensured that they criticised the administrations of Saraki and Ahmed. This development provided the needful information that inspired the masses to turn against the dynasty and candidates of the PDP during the polls. At the end of the day, victory was recorded for the APC in the state.

However, the present administration in the state which came into office through the “O to Ge” movement has been enmeshed in series of crisis as the centre cannot hold again in the last one year of the administration. There is Yoruba proverb that says the house that is built with falsehood, will not last? This is seriously manifesting in the movement now in the state.

The believe of the members and leaders of the movement that worked for the “sacking” of Saraki political dynasty was that they would be in the forefront in determining who gets what political position with the support of the governor. But the reverse has been the case.

The development however turned many of these leaders into despair in view of the fact that, what was happening to them was not what they bargained for as the governor allegedly refused to look their way as the administration commenced its programmes for the people of the state.

The administration operated for almost four months without any cabinet member but later the governor announced top political office holders in the state like Chief of Staff, Secretary to the State Government, Senior Adviser/Counsellor and cabinet members without allegedly consulting the major stakeholders in the election victory. This ugly development disrupted the prevailing harmony within the APC and “O to Ge” movement in the state.

All the appointees were directly picked without input either from the ruling party or the movement. The governor was allegedly having a running battle with some of the leaders of the party that worked for his election in the state. All efforts by the stakeholders of the party both at the national secretariat of the party and the presidency is yet to yield positive results.

The exclusion of the APC leadership and movement in the day-to-day administration of the state in the last one year of the overthrown of Saraki dynasty from the political control of the state has continued to cause disaffection within major stakeholders in the state.

The scenario recently evolved into another dimension as one of the members of the movement, Hon. Musibawu Eshinrogunjo in a viral video released and circulated in Ilorin issued a damning threat to the state governor, Alhaji Abdulrazaq, who he accuses of harbouring ill feelings against his mother.

Eshinrogunjo was one of the APC chieftains and strong members of the “O to Ge” movement in the state and worked day and night for the success of the party during the last general elections.

His outburst according to THISDAY checks might not be unconnected with the fact that he was not considered for any political position in the current administration in the state.

Some people close to the governor told THISDAY that, the governor was said to have offered him the position of special assistant and commissioner but he declined the positions.

It was gathered that, Eshinrogunjo is determined to contest the chairmanship position of Ilorin West local government area which he previously sought, but could not win.

Based on this issue, the politician was said to have released a voice video where he castigated the governor on a number of issues especially that, he worked for the governor during the election but was abandoned. He said the governor has rewarded people who contributed nothing to the success of the party with the governance of the state.

Apart from this, he alleged in the video that, there was a meeting in Abuja with the governor and other two APC chieftains where he alleged that, the governor allegedly sought to enter an understanding for financial gain in return for ensuring that he gets the chairmanship position.

However, following the leak of the video to the whole world recently, Eshinrogunjo was invited by the state Director of the State Security Service(SSS) ,Ilorin to substantiate all the allegations.

Sources said that, Eshinrogunjo was said to have denied the video in question.

But, Hon. Kehinde Mogaji Ibrahim, one of the aides to Hon. Eshinrogunjo came out through another video to defend the governor .

He said that, “Eshinrogunjo was not a sincere leader because he has benefited immensely from the governor before and since he assumed office as the governor of the state.

“Apart from this, the governor has bought him many cars and even gave him unfettered access to him through various empowerment that Eshinrogunjo had benefited from the governor”.

Hon. Ibrahim added that, “All what he said in his video were tissues of lies and wondered how he can be attacking his benefactor like that.”

Another leader of the movement and former Chief Whip of the state house of assembly, Hon. Iyiola Oyedepo in his reaction to the ugly development said that, “The last time I saw Esinrogunjo was 31st January 2020 and that was the day I unveiled my Institute, Nations Leadership Institute, Ilorin.

“The Speaker of Kwara State House of Assembly, Rt Honorable Danlad Yakubu, did the unveiling. Esinrogunjo was one of the invitees.”

He said that “When the young man (Eshinrogunjo) complained about his frustrations about the government, I told him about the brewing intra party crisis which I said could be worse than inter-party crisis.”.

Oyedepo stressed that, “This has been my view about unreasonable intra-party crisis that has engulfed APC Kwara chapter, shortly after our party and our government assumed office.

“This same view I have expressed before the Governor of Kwara State when I, along with six elders of our party were before him before the close 2019.

“This same view I expressed before the brother of the Governor, Dr. Alimi Abdulrazaq and five others sometimes in the month of January, this year.

“I stand by my view that intra-party crisis should not be our main programme after our landslide victory of 2019.”

He noted that, “I am not a politician of violence as I do not have that record. Killing a Governor for whatever reason should not be contemplated by anybody.

“I am not in the habit of any outburst against this government, despite the opposition’s provocation to do so. I am of the view that the Governor should be left to run his government as he pleases”.

He explained further that, “Patience is the acid test of values, it is time that will tell whether the Governor had been right or not. I did not participate in the liberation politics for personal benefits.

“I am already fulfilled now that we have redefined Kwara politics. Generations to come will hail my stand and contributions to Kwara Politics. That is bigger and greater than holding an office .

“I really do not want anybody to intrude into this my dignified silence. Whatever is between the Governor and Comrade Esinrogunjo is really not my concern.”

By and large, there is no doubt that, the members of the movement, and party leadership that fought for the overthrow of the Saraki dynasty and the governor have been at war in the last one year with the governor Abdulrazaq. This is not a good omen for the present administration in the state considering the efforts and commitment of the affected stakeholders. It is a fact that many stakeholders are not happy over their alleged abandonment after the party’ victory in the last year general election, but some of them are just keeping mute waiting for another opportunity. It is now behoves on the governor to look at ways to address this ugly situation as he begins his second year in office, in order to allow him the serene environment to provide more dividends of democracy and to assuage hurt feelings of the affected stakeholders.

The administration operated for almost four months without any cabinet member but later the governor announced top political office holders in the state like Chief of Staff, Secretary to the State Government, Senior Adviser/Counsellor and cabinet members without allegedly consulting the major stakeholders in the election victory. This ugly development disrupted the prevailing harmony within the APC and “O to Ge” movement in the state. All the appointees were directly picked without input either from the ruling party or the movement