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Anxiety as Niger gov panel acts on Kwara APC crisis today

There is anxiety in the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kwara State as the panel mandated to look into the crisis rocking it is expected…

There is anxiety in the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kwara State as the panel mandated to look into the crisis rocking it is expected to announce its decision on the way out of the feud between camps in the party on Monday.

Even before the swearing in of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq after winning the 2019 governorship election in the state on the pedestal of the ‘Otoge’ revolution, the APC in Kwara State had been deeply polarised. Rather than thaw, the internal squabble has continued to worsen.

On one hand, are those categorised as Abuja-based politicians and on the other are the governor who has done and is doing everything possible to assert his authority as the overall leader of the party who should command the respect and obeisance of every member.

But as this seems a tall expectation, peace has been elusive in the party from day one, after the governor took over the mantle of leadership on that incredible mantra of ‘Otoge’ which upset the status quo.

Virtually all the aspirants who contested against the governor have deserted him and the battle for the soul of the party has been vociferous.

Also, those who referred to themselves as ‘Otoge’ champions, like the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, a one-time chairman of PDP in the state, Akogun Iyiola Oyedepo, former chairman of the Federal Character Commission (FCC), Prof. Shuaib Abdulraheem, and several others are not only disappointed with the running of the government, but are equally disenchanted.

This, observers said, is where the state chairman of the party, Bashir Omolaja Bolarinwa, a one-time House of Representatives member in Lagos, belongs.

But the governor is not an orphan in the political sphere. In fact, he has a long list of stakeholders and chieftains of the party queuing behind him as the governor’s men. They include but are not limited to Senator Mokanjuola Ajadi, Hon. Iliyasu Ibrahim, Barr. Kunle Sulaiman, Senator Ahmed Mohammed, among others who align with the AA Group being championed by the governor.

The composition of the cabinet by the governor in December 2019 came as a disappointment to many party members who felt they were not consulted or their candidates were not considered in political appointments, thereby deepening the division within the party.

However, the lingering war deteriorated penultimate week when news filtered in that Hon. Bolarinwa has been sacked by the national caretaker committee of the party chaired by Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State.

The news, which seems like a rumour, was later confirmed by the secretary of the committee, John Akpanudoedehe, amidst shock by the aggrieved members who are solidly behind the suspended chairman.

At a press conference addressed in Abuja on the day the news of Bolarinwa’s suspension was confirmed, Oyedepo who is well known for his stiff opposition to the dominance of former Senate President Senator Bukola Saraki in Kwara politics which was demystified in the 2019 election when APC won all the elective seats 100 per cent, rejected the sack of Bolarinwa.

  • Issue referred to zonal committee

But the national caretaker committee has referred the issue to the North Central Zonal Committee to reconcile the aggrieved members with a resolution being expected on Monday (today) but as it is, that is not likely to resolve the impasse, except the sack of Bolarinwa is reversed which is the condition given by his group.

A source who spoke with our correspondent on condition of anonymity said, “The challenge here is that the people appointed to reconcile the aggrieved members are governors who have not hidden their preference for their colleague’s candidate. So do you expect any fair deal in this kind of circumstances? We are waiting to see what will happen on Monday before deciding on the next step.”

Another source, however, added that the North Central Committee under the leadership of Governor Sani Bello of Niger State and Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State is committed to resolving the impasse fairly and freely with the interest of all the parties protected.

Speaking with our correspondent, Akogun said his group is waiting for the decision of the national caretaker committee on Monday before deciding on the next move.

  • Indiscipline blamed for the crisis

He blamed the crisis in the party on what he called indiscipline on the part of members and failure of leadership on the part of the governor who is supposed to be the leader of the party.

According to him, the governor is not running an inclusive administration. “And what is bad in consulting people? That’s why I said it is a leadership failure,” he added.

But Hon. Ibrahim, a former House of Assembly member and one of the loyalists of the governor, insists the suspension of the chairman stands.

He also took a swipe at those who contested the primaries with the governor, accusing them of working against the governor even during the elections.

Even as stakeholders await the decision of the national secretariat on Monday, the crisis may persist until the 2023 elections as the gladiators warm up to take over from the governor. But the governor, too, on the other hand, may want to take a shot for a second term as his people have started making a case for him. This, analysts say, may jeopardise the fortunes of the party in future elections and create room for the possible return of PDP to power.