The crisis rocking Kwara State All Progressives Congress has assumed another dimension as the party in the state has been factionalized, writes Adedayo Akinwale
At the moment, there is no harmony in the State of Harmony, as Kwara State is known as crisis rocking the ruling APC in the state shows no sign of abating following the removal of the state Chairman of the party Hon. Bashir Bolarinwa by the National Caretaker Committee of the party chaired by Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni.
The APC came into power after the ‘O to ge’ revolution to wrestle power from Saraki dynasty. ‘O to ge’, which was a people’s revolution literarily means Enough is Enough.
Not long after the APC assumed power in the state, crisis hit the party when the camp of the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, as well as the Minister of State, Transport, Gbemisola Saraki believed they were schemed out of political happenings in the state.
How the crisis started
The battle of supremacy between the governor’s camp, Abdulrahaman Abdulrazak, and Mohammed and Saraki continued at the state level before it was made a national issue last week.
The crisis, which indicated that political waters in the state were no longer still assumed a new twist when a faction of APC stormed the Secretariat in Abuja last week in a last minute effort to get the removal of the party chairman in the state reversed.
The faction, which is loyal to Mohammed and Saraki, appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to save the party from the imminent destruction and deliberate journey to political perdition.
The faction led by led by Mr. Iyiola Oyedepo, informed journalists that members of the Kwara APC heard it as a rumour until they came face to face with the Secretary of the National Caretaker Committee, Sen. John Akpanudoedehe on the 12th day of January 2021, when he told them that the caretaker committee had dethroned Kwara state Chairman of the party on the 11th of January 2021, by giving a letter of appointment to his Deputy, Hon. Samari Abdullahi.
He recalled that Bolarinwa became the Chairman in October 2018 and he led the party to 100% victory in the 2019 general elections. He added that he along with other State Chairmen of APC in Nigeria was sworn-in as the Kwara State Chairman of the Caretaker Committee on 11th December 2020.
Why Kwara APC chairman was removed
Oyedepo said they were informed by Akpanudoedehe that Bolarinwa was removed on the complaint of the Governor who claimed he could not work with the former.
He alleged that the complaint was sustained and made a subject of removal as a result of a connivance between Abdulrazak and his Niger State Governor, Muhammed Bello.
Oyedepo claimed that the content of the complaints was not made available, neither to the critical stakeholders of the party in Kwara State nor to Bolarinwa, adding that the decision of the Caretaker Committee was said to be based on the recommendations of the North Central Zone of the Party, under the Chairmanship of Bello.
He further alleged that Bello was said to have recommended Bolarinwa’s removal and that he be made a Commissioner in the cabinet of Kwara State and also recommended that Abdullai Sanmari, be made acting chairman.
Oyedepo said they found it difficult to believe that the leadership of a national political party like the APC would flagrantly abuse its constitution by the purported removal of our State Chairman.
He insisted that It was not written anywhere in the Constitution of APC that a zone of the party like the North Central Zone, can recommend to the National Secretariat for the removal of any officer of the party in any ward, Local Government and the State.
Mohammed, Saraki faction dares Buni committee
Oyedepo stated: “We have resolved to reject the verdict of the National Caretaker Committee on the purported removal of Hon. Bashir Bolarinwa. It is worth nothing more than the value of the paper on which the letter given to Hon Sanmari Abdulahi is written. It certainly shall not work in Kwara State no matter who is behind it.
“Though when we told the Secretary that the decision could sink the party in the state, he said they really do not care. And he repeated during the conversation more than five times that he was acting under the instructions of the Chairman, Mai Mala Buni.
“We shall prove to those that aborted the peoples’ revolution foisting on our party the present situation since 2018 that Kwara is not an appendage of any outside power conspiracy. They continue to compromise our noble cause with these unacceptable decisions and we shall henceforth prove to those that are not popular at home but rather rely on political manipulations from outside that, the game is up,” Oyedepo added.
Pro-Abdurazaq Group Responds
But pro-Abdurazaq under the auspices of Concerned Kwara APC Elders/Stakeholders, wasted no time in returning the fire when it described Mohammed Saraki as paper-weight politicians with no electoral value.
They also also declared support for the National Caretaker Committee Chaired by Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni, over the removal of Bolarinwa as state party Chairman.
While addressing a press conference on behalf of the group, Amb. Nurudeen Muhammed described the decision by the national leadership of the party as a life saving decision.
He stated: “First, we throw our weight behind the decision of the national headquarters of our party to appoint a dogged, committed and level-headed party chieftain Alhaji Abdullahi Samari as the Acting Chairman of the party.
“This indeed is a lifesaving decision for the party that had been in the vice grip of power drunk and self-conceited individuals whose only loyalists are garrulous and selfish few whose only anger with the Governor is that he did not make himself a yes-man or stooge through whom the public vault is thrown open.”
Muhammed said for many months, the former chairman and ‘his co-travelers’ launched a campaign of calumny against the governor to the chagrin of Kwara public who wonder what could warrant these party chieftains from the ruling party attacking their own governor despite his glaring record of achievements in less than two years.
He noted It was on record that the aggrieved members have a weekly programme to denigrate the Governor, his administration, and the House of Assembly, adding that they never missed any opportunity to denigrate the office of the Governor.
Muhammed stressed that the intervention of the national headquarters of the party was therefore timely and necessary to save the party.
The Chairman of Kwara APC Elders Forum, Mr. Kunle Suleiman, while fielding questions from journalists said: “Those ministers and Association of Failed Governorship Aspirants can come to Abuja to say nonsense but they are just paperweight politicians. They have no influence at the grassroots. Even a Professor, like Oba Abdulrasheed who prides himself as a former university vice-chancellor, would still have to come to the grassroots to learn.”
On his part, Sen. Suleiman Ajadi said the two ministers are presidential appointees who lack the capability to win elections.
According to him, Ministers are not elected officials. President Muhammadu Buhari picked them not based on their capability to win elections. If you check the pedigree of the two ministers you will understand what I am saying that they do not have the capacity to win elections.
Counter narrative on Why Bolarinwa was remivedy
The pro-governor group explained that contrary to their claims, Bolarinwa was rightly removed as chairman of the party for his many anti-party conducts, which include but are not limited to; open condemnation and denigration of the achievements of the APC government for his own selfish objectives, among others.
The group added that Bolarinwa was also removed because there was no love lost between him and majority of the state executive council members who he never consulted, and his refusal to accept the leadership status of the Governor.
Kwara APC youths threaten showdown
While the two factions were busy engaging in war of words in Abuja, a group under the aegies of Concerned All Progressives Congress Youth Stakeholders, in Kwara state last week threatened to disrupt the forthcoming party membership registration exercise follwing the ‘illegal removal’ of Bolarinwa as chairman of the caretaker committee of the party was not reversed with immediate effect.
The spokesperson of the group, Mr. Ahmed Ishowo, while addressing a press conference in Ilorin, said the removal of Bolarinwa was a move to return the stateto dark days of political impostor.
The group said, “It is disheartening that Hon.Bolarinwa was removed from office without any issuance of letter of query but was done with a connivance of a single individual based on self ambition”.
“We want the national caretaker committee of APC to know that the forthcoming membership registration will not take place in Kwara state until they rescind its decision over the illegal removal of Hon Bolarinwa as the state caretaker chairman of APC.”
While the ruling party has engaged in a series of reconciliatory moves within the party, which is beginning to yield results, state chapters of the party like Rivers, Taraba are still embroiled in crisis.
This indeed is a lifesaving decision for the party that had been in the vice grip of power drunk and self-conceited individuals whose only loyalists are garrulous and selfish few whose only anger with the Governor is that he did not make himself a yes-man or stooge through whom the public vault is thrown open. Muhammed said for many months, the former chairman and ‘his co-travelers’ launched a campaign of calumny against the governor to the chagrin of Kwara public who wonder what could warrant these party chieftains from the ruling party attacking their own governor despite his glaring record of achievements in less than two years. He noted It was on record that the aggrieved members have a weekly programme to denigrate the Governor, his administration, and the House of Assembly, adding that they never missed any opportunity to denigrate the office of the Governor