MUYIWA OYINLOLA in this report writes on some of the post election challenges of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kwara State
Political developments in Kwara State have taken a new dimension since the change of baton in May this year when AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq emerged the governor of the state.
AbdulRazaq was the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in March 9 governorship election in the state.
The APC polled a total of 331,546, more than double the 114,754 votes secured by his main rival, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Abdulrazaq Atunwa. The APC candidate won in all the 16 local government areas in the state.
The defeat of the PDP and its governorship candidate was no doubt not unconnected to the challenge of the then senate president and the godfather of Kwara politics, Dr. Bukola Saraki, with the presidency.
Saraki, who had a turbulent time as senate president eventually lost his reelection to the senate in the February poll, so were all his supporters in the state.
But soon after assumption of office, the party is enmesh in internal crisis, among which is the call for the removal of its state chairman, Bashir Omolaja Bolarinwa.
President general of Orisun Igbomina, a leading socio -political group in Kwara south, Chief Gbenga Awoyale, is one of those championing the course of his removal.
While speaking with LEADERSHIP, the politician who was accused of playing up a script of certain individuals to bring the party down noted that , “That I’m being sponsored or used is a cheap blackmail. If truly Hon. Bashiru Bolarinwa, is a politician as he has claimed and as the Kwara APC chairman who is working with party’s guidelines and constitution, why can’t he recognise the governor as the leader of the party in the state? He publicly embarrassed the governor due to his( governor’s)
simplicity, therefore taking advantage of him unduly. He was imposed on us as the APC chairman.
“Before you can emerge as the party chairman, you need some level of popularity and acceptance from the people whom you want to front for not emerging on the goodwill of some few individuals who don’t share in our political attributes and traditions. That is why it is very necessary for him to
resign now and allow for a replacement. There is the need to study political trends at all levels.
“President Muhammadu Buhari, is from the north, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is from the south- west and that is why the national chairman of the party is from Edo State in order to give other regions sense of belonging. Let Bashir Omolaja Bolarinwa,tell me at what time in Lagos State where he came from has the party produced the deputy governor and party chairman from the same local government or region? He deliberately wants to sabotage our democratic process and create enmity among stakeholders in the state.
“He wants to put all our liberation efforts in jeopardy. Therefore, we are ready to wage war against anybody who has shown himself as an enemy of progress and anti-masses. That was part of why we waged war against Bukola Saraki and we shall not treat this case as an exception.”
However, a group which christened itself as Kwara South APC Frontier has moved in stout defence of the embattled party chairman.
The group in a statement signed by Mr Abimbola Ogunyemi, debunked the allegations levelled against Bolarinwa by some “desperate elders” of the AP from Kwara south as false.
The group described the affected leaders who were against Bolarinwa as the elders who are seeking the attention of the state governor for political consideration.
It noted however, “There is no doubt there could be some contending issues between the governor and the party which we guess could be appointments and funding. Whatever it is, this is normal within a democratic set up. We disagree to agree. Unless we want to go the Saraki way again.
“Unfortunately, the supposedly concerned elders rather than give a recipe for genuine resolution and chart a way to make the party wax stronger, have come with a resolution which can be likened to the biblical Ahithophel’s foolish advice to Absalom against his father, David.Had God not turned Ahithophel’s advice into foolishness, the King would have died in the hands of his son as counselled by one of the greatest ancient court advisers that ever lived.
“In the light of the above, Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, should shun these misleading elders whose goals are to tarnish the integrity of the Bolarinwa – led state executive committee and cause factionalisation of the APC in Kwara State.
“At this stage of our political development in Kwara State, what is needed is political consolidation. The state government and the ruling APC need to give Kwarans the positive change they promised them.
“Happily, Governor AbdulRazaq, has acknowledged the people as his primary constituency in the determination to deliver to them the fruits of governance and his first 80 days have probably left no one in doubt as to how quickly he wants the people to feel the impact of governance.We urge him to constitute his cabinet as soon as possible to shift the pressure away from the centre and enhance an imparted form of government.
“We urge the state executive committee to set up a disciplinary committee to handle the intransigent Kwara South Elders’ Forum, whose stock in trade is to always cause confusion within the party.It is never in the interest of all APC party faithful in Kwara State to have a schism between the governor and the state executive. Irrespective of the righteousness of one’s cause, there is often a time to shift grounds and concede certain positions for the larger benefit of the society. What this means is that if two sides of an argument remains adamant till the very end, the group may suffer irreparable damage. And to whose advantage?”
While the crisis remains unresolved, Awoyale makes an assessment of the AbdulRazaq-led government’s performance in first last 100 days in office.
According to him, “Governor AbdulTazaq’s100 days in office is so marvelous and monumental. The most interesting aspect of his administration was
when I heard that he approved the sum of N20 million for the repair
of pot-holes in the state. To my surprise, the paltry sum of money was effectively utilised to fix our roads. We know how much past
administrations earmarked for roads in the past with no significant improvement. The abandoned projects in Kwara State Polytechnic, Ilorin, unscheduled visits to places as well as prompt actions on the needs of Kwarans have distinguished him from his predecessors.
“Other outstanding records of the governor include provision of infrastructure at the NYSC camp and subsequent renovation of the camp to make an ideal accommodation for the corps members, re-opening of the shutdown Radio Kwara Radio, counterpart funding payments of 450million to SUBEB, N200million to World Bank, as well as payment of counterpart funds for NHIS.
“ AbdulRazaq’s achievements are far beyond 100 days in office. Most of his predecessors couldn’t boast of these achievements after two to three years in office, therefore we don’t want any distractions to come his way.”
Meanwhile, in his reaction, the chairman of the PDP in the state, Engr Kola Shitu,
scored the ruling party low in its first 100 days in office.
He told LEADERSHIP that “The ruling APC government has not performed well. I have criteria for making my assessment and from this, they have not scored 20 per cent. My criteria is based on their promises to the electorate before and during the elections. I can give a few of those promises made. “They promised to offset the salary arrears of workers within 100 days in office. They promised to offset salary arrears of local government and SUBEB staff and this has not been done. Secondly, they promised to give agricultural loans to farmers within 100 days, which has not been done. Thirdly, they promised to buy a tractor each to all the 193 political wards in the state to help their farming needs, that also has not been met.
“Also, they promised to construct rural roads within 100 days, this promise to rural dwellers has not been met. They promised massive employment for the youths in the state within 100 days, this is also not yet a reality. The issue of minimum wage promised to workers is also yet a reality within the 100 days despite the receipt of lots of money from federal allocations and internally generated revenue in the state. It is a surprise that in the 100 days under review, a government has not been formed; no commissioners, no special advisers, that means the state executive council, which is the governing council is not in place, this is not good enough.
“Aside from all these, the APC government in the state has worked against the constitution by taking certain illegal steps; all the cases are in the courts. The suspension or dissolution of all local government councils, chairmen and councillors. The dissolution of local government service commissions, legally -constituted commissions like the Civil Service Commission, Kwara State Independent Electoral Commission, the House of Assembly Service Commission. Things like these are not good enough and based on these, my judgment is that they have performed woefully.”
While speaking on the feasible of the clamour to end the Saraki dynasty, in the state, he disclosed that those nursing ambition did not know what they were saying and were not educated.
‘’In fact, I don’t understand that particular statement. Put an end to Saraki dynasty? Saraki dynasty is a dynamic dynasty. They can be in one party today and be in another tomorrow. Are they saying that they want to exterminate Saraki family or they want to prevent any party he belongs to from winning in elections? I don’t understand what they mean. I am not related to Saraki by blood but I am in the same party with him, so if an end must come to Saraki dynasty are they saying they will bring an end to me as well? I realise many people use language that they do not understand its meaning. “The truth is that Saraki may lose an election today, he could win another election tomorrow, that is politics and that is the culture. Those who are talking about putting an end to one dynasty or the other, I think they are not very educated. All that matters to us is how the masses will enjoy the dividends of democracy and that is paramount.”
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