Michael Olanrewaju in this article analysis the unfolding intrigues, bickerings, divisiness threatening the once united political party that has been able to wreste power from the once invincible political oligarcy within 3 months of ascendance into power in Ilorin. Here are excerpts:
Politic is no doubt is a game of interests intertwined in power play. Political pundits watching keenly how personal and group interests has been affecting developments within the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kwara State are wondering if the current trend may not lead to implosion or possible oblivion of some players in the evolving political arrangement that has unseated an entrenched ruling dynasty from power in the state of harmony.
The seemingly non-cohesion of the party with pursuit of interests with inherent intrigues could be traced to the evolution, metamorphosis and emergence of the party as a strong force of reckoning that uprooted the established oligarchy in the State of harmony. This is because the need to forge a formidable group to wrest power from the Bukpla Saraki led power holdings led to the amalgamation of various social -political, cultural as well as ethno- religious groups in the quest to free kwara from the entrenched feudal lordship in the 2019 elections.
It would be recalled that by 2014 and in the build up to 2015 elections, it was amalgamation that many people doubt their fusion together as one that formed APC. Dr. Bukola Saraki led those that
defected from Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Dr. Saraki got elected as Senator representing Kwara Central Senatorial District. The leadership of the Action Congress of Nigeria that was championing the cause of progressives was subdued for Saraki leadership. Saraki eventually emerged as Senate President contrary to the directives of the party leadership at the National level. All that followed has become political history.
However, when the supposed all-powerful Saraki led group defected back to PDP in the build up to 2019 election in order to pursue the Presidential ambition of the group’s leader, things turn awry as all the State, Local Government, ward executives of the PDP which has been giving formidable opposition left PDP with their followers to the APC as members. This migration was the needed tonic that changed the political calculations and configuration. To compound the dynastic political woes, the polirised PDP led By Akogun Iyiola Oyedepo on one side and Sunday Fagbemi group on the other hand sheated their sword and combined to move to the APC in the interest of the suffering masses in the State.
The intensity with which the need to wrest power from Saraki political dominance heightened and as their followers and supporters continued to swell and grow culminating in the slogan “o to ge” which means enough is enough which transmitted into a mass movement or a political brand that could not be countered and eventually uprooted Saraki dynasty from Kwara power game.
The evolution and emergence of party leadership as well as candidates of the APC for the 2019 elections was thus determined by this historical sequence. This is bearing in mind that the Saraki group that has predominantly produced the State APC executives left the Ishola Balogun Fulani led executives as a mole to truncate the goals of the party from attaining victory in the election. This led to factionalization which led to the production of Hon. Bashir Omolaja Bolarinwa as the State Chairman. The distraction that Balogun Fulani group wanted to pose for APC fizzled out after some litigations and the Court of Appeal ruled in favour of Bolarinwa.
A reliable inside source within the ruling party confided in Spear Gists in Ilorin that the brand “o to ge” (enough is enough) which acted as mass mobilization of Kwara indigenes and residents rather than campaign efforts of the party APC was the main magic responsible for the party’s victory in 2019 elections. This is because the party leadership as well as members concentrated on group interests .mostly influenced by aspirants seeking for governorship position in the primary election. The intrigues, and bickerings that went with the governorship primary election of the party affected the cohesion within the leadership, members and followers but Kwarans are tired of the sufferings that the administration of former Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed has subjected them to, quipped the source.
It added further that the defeat of PDP by APC in the Ekiti/ Oke+Ero/ Irepodun/ Isin Local Governments House of Representatives bye-election where Hon. Tunji Olawuyi (Ajulo Opin) won was an impetus that gave confidence to the party that they can wrest power from Bukola Saraki political dynasty that has dominated the affairs of the State in the past 4 decades. This pose a great challenge to Saraki invincible political hegemony.
The source disclosed that a political meeting held at the Image Garden Hotel in Esie, Irepodun Local Government Area further added to the widening gap as the State Chairman of the party was alleged to have chided the State Governor calling him many unprintable names that the Deputy Governor had to walk out of the meeting.
The inherent disharmony within the APC came into open as a group, Orisun Igbomina, which is a social political group called for the immediate resignation of the kwara state APC chairman, Hon Bashir
Omolaja Bolarinwa. In a statement issued after an emergency meeting of the organization and signed by the President , Chief Gbenga Awoyale on Friday 23/8/2019, stated that it was “unanimously agreed that in the interest of fairness, equity and progress of the Party in the State, the Chairman should immediately resign his appointment because he was never elected in the first instance as prescribed by our Party’s constitution coupled with his autocratic ways of running the Party as if it’s his personal business empire.”
The group accused him of “arrant arrogance and lack of capacity which is unhealthy in a democratic setting. It was this same Chairman that refused to campaign with the APC Governorship Candidate and ordered the Exco members to boycott the campaign. His non challant attitude and arrogance would have cost the party 2019 General election victory.”
The Organisation condemn in strong terms, “the unruly outburst of the Chairman at a meeting between the Excos and the Governor on Monday 12th August as well as 21st August 2019 at a reception in honour of the returned Information Minister Alhaji Lai Mohammed , where the Governor was seated, did not acknowledge nor recognize the Governor during his remark and deliberately referred to the Minister as the nLeader of the Party, knowingly that the Governor is the leader of the party in the state. This is the height of insubordination which is condemnable.”
The group noted “the outbursts and antagonistic disposition of the Chairman arose from the refusal of the Governor to grant his N10million request for a one day event in Abuja. This display of arrogance was largely due to the fact that he was not elected but imposed. Chief Awoyale also stated that since there is democratically
elected Government in place and the Deputy Governor comes from the same Local Government with the Chairman it is politically expedient for the Party Chairmanship position to shift to another local Government in Kwara South.”
Chief Awoyale declared “support and loyalty of the Orisun Igbomina Organisation to the Governor, commended him for taking bold steps towards delivering the state from wilderness of poverty, ill-infrastructure, corruption and joblessness among others as orchestrated by the last Administration.”
He added, “Alhaji Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq has demonstrated high leadership qualities and high sense of commitment to the growth, development and prosperity to the State of Harmony within the shortest time”.
He praised the Governor for “his maturity and patience over the display of arrogance by the APC chairman in the state, who is
not known in kwara but Lagos and playing the scripts of some Abuja politicians with no impact at home”.
Chief Awoyale finally advised the Governor not to be distracted by those who are not happy with his achievements.
Meanwhile a catalyst of the imbroglio within the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kwara State led to the emergence of a new pressure group-Peoples Frontiers Movement (PFM) with structures in all the seven local government areas that make up Kwara South Senatorial District during the weekend.
Spear Gists investigations revealed that Senator Suleiman Makanjuola Ajadi is the arrow head of the group as findings indicates that Alhaji Lai Mohammed caucus and Ajadi caucus exists within the State APC. And the two leaders are from Kwara South Senatorial District. While Ajadi hails from Babanloma in Ifelodun Local Government Area of the State, Alhaji Lai Mohammed hails from Oro in Irepodun Local Government Area. They are both Igbomina ethnic stalk.
The duo are torn apart by their level of involvement in the liberation struggle that produced the current Governor of the state. While many believed that the current state executives are Lai Mohammed loyalists that were tactically not so involved in election struggle while Ajadi in collaboration with Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) migrants that moved en-mass to APC when Dr. Bukola Saraki led group defect to PDP were in the fore front . This is because the group had done so much damage to the Saraki dynasty in the last few years through their programmes and activities. The group accused Lai Mohammed of fear for Saraki dynasty that during the period that Saraki was in the APC, more than 90% of federal political appointments coming to the state went to Saraki’s loyalists. They
argued that each time that this is brought to Lai Mohammed’s notice, he would always say he does not want to confront anybody.
Meanwhile the Ifelodun LGA chapter of the movement was launched at Ganmo where members were charged to remain focused and steadfast as dependable allies of Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq for him to deliver on mandate in the state.
Speaking at the inauguration of the new Executive Committee, the PFM State Chairman, Alh. Oseni Olanrewaju Yussuf of Igbaja tasked the new Executive members to justify the confidence and trust reposed in them in the running of the affairs of the group.
He admonished the newly elected officers to give the necessary impetus needed to project the good image and objectives of the socio -cultural – political group as a reliable partner with the administration of Governor Abdul-Rahman Abdul-Rasaq in steering the ship of the state to the Next Level.
Further, he urged members to always rise to the occasion as a social change agent, in checkmating the unnecessary distractions and campaign of calumny spearheaded by some disgruntled elements from within and without, among stakeholders in Kwara project.
In his acceptance speech, the elected Chairman on behalf of the new Executive, Comrade Abdul-Rahoof Bello assured PFM members of his commitment and unflinching support of the new team to the ideals, vision and mission of Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, under his new concept of ‘Paradigm Shift’ in governance of Kwara State.
Comrade Bello commended the Governor for being of good example in his administrative style that symbolised humility, simplicity and
zero-tolerance to wasteful spending of public funds.
The Chairman cautioned some APC members to stop arrogating the ‘O To Gee’ victory solely to any particular person or group of persons, stating that it was Allah who had spoken through the entire people of Kwara State, using Abdul-Rahman Abdul-Rasaq as the arrowhead and the Biblical David to defeat the erstwhile political Goliath of a dynasty. History shall judge individuals for their contributions to the success of the struggle at the appropriate time, he prophesized.
Comrade Bello therefore, promised the preparedness of his team to remain in the forefront of defence to Governor AbdulRasak against those who were currently constituting themselves as clogs in the wheel of progress in the State.
He concluded by praying for Allah’s protection on the Governor from those whispering evils into the mind of people; those who breaths temptations into the mind of people and those who suggest qthoughts into the hearts of others.
The emergence of AbdulRahmon AbdulRasaq (AA) Support group within the party is suggestive in the unfolding crisis