Oshiomhole Adams. Around a year after the Kwara State All Progressive Congress
(APC) rode on the pedestal of the Otoge Movement to dislodge the ruling People’s
Democratic Party (PDP) under the firm grip of former Senate President Senator
Bukola Saraki, the party is now split against itself and the historic movement
seems to have collapsed. Stakeholders agree the intervention is urgent for
Presidency and the leadership of the party in Abuja is needed to save the party
in the Otoge movement now see one another as foes to be avoided and ostracised.
Undoubtedly, the 100 per cent success recorded against the then ruling party by
the rampaging Otoge Movement came as a surprise to many political watchers.
Very few people believed the Saraki’s hegemony could be so simply truncated.
Alas, it happened. The former Senate President was not only defeated in Kwara
Central, but all his appointees were also roundly beaten in the poll.
the role of the party in the emergence of candidates cannot be wished away. In
fact, as the country’s governance system dictates, a candidate does not exist
in isolation of the party which provides the platform. But in Kwara APC, the
party is said to have been relegated to the background. One of the causes of
the current turmoil in Kwara APC is the appointment of the governor’s
appointees which did not favour some group of people said to be part and parcel
of the Otoge struggle. Also, there is the factor of those referred to as “Abuja
and Lagos politicians” who are said to have been rendered irrelevant in the
scheme of things. The two ministers representing the state in the federal
cabinet – Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed and Minister
of State for Transportation, Senator Gbemi Saraki – no doubt remain critical
stakeholders in the governance of the state but sources close to them say there
was never a time their input was sought in the scheme of things in the state.
division in the party. While Governor AbdulRazaq has been praised for
appointing more women and youth into his cabinet, this did not go down well
with many APC stalwarts who felt they were not consulted by the governor. Some
of the chieftains who spoke with Daily Trust accused the governor of abandoning
those who staked their necks in the Otoge struggle and contributed to the
success recorded by the party in the last election.
who spoke with our correspondent on condition of anonymity said out of the 16
commissioners appointed by the governor, only five were politicians. “Since he
became governor, he didn’t carry the party along. He does things his own way
without seeking anybody’s input. He said he is building his own structure and
that is what he has occupied himself with. “Already, he has created the AA
Group which he is using across the 16 local governments just to spite the party
and he is ready to crush anyone who stands in his way.
the party has failed in the state,” the party chieftain said, pleading to
remain anonymous. Worried by the deep-seated crisis that has rocked the state,
stakeholders have called for urgent intervention by the Presidency to save the
party from the precipice. A group, Kwara State APC Integrity Vanguard (KWIV),
in a well-publicised letter to the National Chairman of the party, Comrade
Adams Oshiomhole which was copied to President Muhammadu Buhari, Senate
President Ahmed Lawan and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi
Gbajabiamila decried what it called “the disgusting development in Kwara State
APC. The group in a letter, signed by
Alhaji Abdullahi Yinka Onimasa, National Coordinator and Comrade Kayode Aliyu
Bamidele Secretary General, further alleged several attempts by the governor to
usurp the party’s structures. But some aggrieved members of the state executive
council of the APC loyal to the governor have dismissed the allegations against
him saying, rather it was the party chairman, Hon. Bashir Bolarinwa, that was
working for the Minister of Information to subvert the party’s constitution.
Chairman, APC), Salman Mustapha lsowo (State Secretary), Hon. Olabanji Olayemi
(Kwara South Senatorial chairman), Tajudeen Folaranmi Aro, (State Publicity
Secretary) and Hon. Oyinloye Oyelere (State Youth Leader) said the party had
been enmeshed in internal crisis occasioned by dissatisfaction expressed by a
bloc of the state executive committee against the state chairman of the party,
Chief Rex Olawoye, while talking to Daily Trust said he was “seriously worried”
about the future of the party in the state if nothing was done to mend the
existing cracks. “Definitely we need some intervention from our elders outside
Kwara to bring the aggrieved groups together. They should be able to call a
spade a spade,” he said.