Kwara APC crisis, AbdulRazaq AbdulRahman, Bashir Omolaja Bolarinwa, Kwara APC chairman suspension

Untold Story: How Kwara APC parley turned ugly

In an attempt to broker peace and strengthen the cordial relationship between members of his party, Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq called stakeholders’ meeting to resolve lingering intra-party fracas which ended without a positive resolution.

Before the carpet crossing of the political icons in Kwara State before the 2019 general election, the state chapter of the party had been engulfed in crisis, leading to division at the state congress held sometimes in 2018.

While the group loyal to the former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, held its meeting at the Banquet Hall opposite the Government House, the meeting for the other faction who are loyal to the information minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, took place at Arca Santa Event Hall.

In a lawsuit dated May 21, 2018, Loyalists of Alhaji Lai Mohammed filed a petition against another faction in the party whom they alleged to be a team supporting Mr Saraki, seeking an order of the state high court to restrain the APC, its former party chairman, John Oyegun, from recognizing Ishola Balogun-Fulani as the new party chairman in the state.

This imbroglio was said to have led to the dissolution of the Ishola Balogun-Fulani led executives by the state chapter of the party. Thus, a caretaker committee led by Bashir Omolaja Bolarinwa was put in motion in wake of the 2019 general election.

Similarly, in an exclusive report by THE INFROMANT247, another cold war ensued between the governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq and the party chairman, Bashir Omolaja Bolarinwa a few days after their triumph in the 2019 general elections.

The top source within the governor’s caucus who craved anonymity while speaking with our correspondent, late last year said, “The chairman is requesting for the party’s involvement in the appointment of key government officials. However, the Governor is not ready to give them the chance as he believed governance is different from politics, he needs technocrats.”

In appointing the COS, SSG and CPS the governor is said to have taken a unilateral decision without consultation with party leadership, this indeed was the second litmus test which – according to another source in the party hierarchy – the governor would fail. The party feared the governor might be appointing people close to him with less electoral value and this thus diminishing the party’s popular choice in the forthcoming poll.

“At least the governor should have called to discuss with the party. Look at the recent appointment, no one was involved, we have thousands of people who suffered under the scorching sun and dreaded rainfalls just to put him in office, they ought to be compensated,” a party top party hierarchy confided in this correspondent.

However, the mutual hostility took a new dimension when the party chairman with some of his executives met with the governor to register their displeasure. Our source who attended the meeting said the party chairman, Bolarinwa spoked for about 2 hours, the governor was said to have responded in 5 minutes and call for a closing prayer without allowing Bolarinwa to further comment on his response. This was said to have triggered immediate hullabaloo that almost led to a physical confrontation between the party executives.

Another inside source said that “the governor’s handlers are perceiving the handwriting of Lai Mohammad in all these and they are not ready to give him any chance to lead, since the governor is the leader of the party according to the APC constitution.”

The call for peace that was not peaceful

In a meeting invitation from the Office of the Principal Private Secretary to the governor, Jumoke Gafar, dated 4th November 2020 directing the state executive council, the member of the state assembly and member of the party executives to a joint meeting scheduled for 5th of November 2020 at Kwara Hotel by 4 pm.

Gov AbddulRazaq Invitation letter to APC chairman, Bolarinwa

An eye witness who spoke to theinformant247 on the condition of anonymity, disclosed that the attendance of the state governor, the Kwara House Speaker and other party dignitaries were present for the peacemaking and the progress of the party.

The state governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, was said to have addressed the gathering on his governmental policies and issues relating to the implementation of minimum wages in the state. The speaker, Yakubu Salihu Dalandi, for his part, implored the members to put the past before them and allow peace to reign in the party.

However, a fuss was set at the moment one of the party chieftains from Oko Ward in Irepodun Local Government, Abel Adewunmi, moved a vote of no confidence on the party caretaker committee chairman, Basir Omolaja Bolarinwa, alleged him of series of misconducts against the party rules.

Some of the allegations levied against the chairman of the party caretaker committee are anti-party activities, lack of accountability and mismanagement of funds, and promotions of indiscipline in the party.

The petition issued by the Party Secretary, Mr Mustapha Ishowo, Which would later be obtained by this medium, reads: “The party was plugged into serious crises before and after the election. These crises were precipitated by the Chairman of the State Caretaker Committee Hon. Bashir Omolajia Bolarinwa.

“With all these aforementioned Constitutional Breaches, I hereby move that this gathering pass a vote of no confidence on the caretaker committee chairman Hon. Bashir Omolaja Bolarinwa and his eventual suspension from office. Or, in the alternative, the caretaker committee of the state executive committee be dissolved immediately,” the circular added.

However, according to several eye-witnessess accounts, before Mr. Abel could finish reading the petition, the meeting already turned to free fight for all with party loyalists and the some Assembly members hurling several insults and unprintable words. No sooner the party chairman engaged the governor in an heated debate, than he hurriedly left the venue.

The Allegations Were False –Deputy Chairman

When contacted to react on the allegations made against him, Bashir Omolajia Bolarinwa, redirected this reporter to the party deputy chairman (Kwara North), T.A.S Oyebiyi, who regarded the allegations made against the chairman as untrue and should be discarded and maintained that the suspension of the party chairman caretaker committee could not hold and Mr Bolarinwa still functions as the head of the party caretaker committee.

“All allegations itemized in the statement are all false and not true.

“There was no suspension at all. The chairman remains the chairman of the APC,” Mr Oyebiyi said.

He earlier alleged that “the petition signatory is dancing to the tune of the Governor”, whom he described as “his paymaster”.

He added, “The Governor had been sponsoring these people since August last year to destabilise the party. A party that made him. The secretary, who ceased to be the secretary of the party but that of the governor, not until recently. Someone that went to the chairman on several occasions to kneel down and beg for forgiveness.”

APC Legal Adviser Reacts

Barrister Ladi Mustapha, the APC Kwara State legal adviser, maintained that the meeting for the suspension of any member should called by the state party chairman and attended by members of state executive council and with a resolution that requires the two-third majority of executive and must pass the fair hearing test.

“According to Article 21 paragraph(B) VI, the meeting for the passing of no confidence on an executive member should be called by the state chairman and attended by all members that are described as members of the state executive council.

“Also, such requires two-third majority of the appropriate organ and subjected to the officers right for a fair hearing. So there was no suspension at all.” Mr Mustapha explained.

Bolarinwa Remains Kwara APC Chairman —AbdulRahman

“Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq hereby reaffirms Hon. Bashir Omolaja Bolarinwa (BOB) as the chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kwara State,” a statement issued by the Governor’s Press Secretary, Rafiu Ajakaye, on Friday after the crisis, reads.

The statement furthered that the Governor urged all aggrieved party members to embrace dialogue and key into his various efforts to rally everyone behind his agenda for a better Kwara State.

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