2019 elections: We want more democratic choice of candidates
*We have failed the people – faction of APC claim
Kwara state chapter of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) may be heading for the popular Sobi hills in the state capital. We can report with authority that some prominent chieftains of the party have publicly cut all relationships with the Hon. Ishola Balogun Fulani-led state executive committee of the party.
Their reason? The regrettable handling of party affairs as well as poor performance of the APC government in the state.
In the breakaway group are some of the big names of what in 2014 was called the ‘Legacy parties’ that metamorphosed into the APC. They have been at cross with the Balogun Fulani-led faction alleged to be blindly loyal to Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Governor AbdulFatah Ahmed, long before now.
Where did this new crisis started? According to sources in the party, the icy relationship between the two groups had on several occasions led to verbal and physical confrontations among party members in various parts of the state.
Stakeholders had been working on the major gladiators to sheath their swords. The faction opposed to Fulani had been accusing Saraki and his associates of trying to pocket the APC in Kwara state, contrary to the agreements reached when the ‘Legacy parties’ were joined by the then nPDP to form the APC ahead of the 2015 general elections.
At a well attended press conference held in Ilorin, the state capital, frontline leaders of the APC in the state, under the chairmanship of Alhaji Samari Abdullahi, a former Commissioner of Education, in the state, told the world that the ruling APC in Kwara state is sharply divided into two disagreeing groups.
Consequently, the aggrieved party men and women, under the aegis of Caucus for Progressive Change, announced the formation of its own state executive committee.
Those announced as the new leaders of the faction are Alhaji Samari Abdullahi as Chairman, Kamaldeen Aremu as Secretary, Rahmat Abdulkadir as Treasurer, Bamidele Abdullateef as Publicity Secretary, Sherifat Idowu Kareem as Women Leader, Abbas Adeoti as Youth Leader, Ola Tajudeen as Vice-Chairman, South senatorial district, Issa Mariam Liman as Vice -Chairman, North senatorial district and Biodun Baba, Vice-Chairman, Central senatorial district.
We won’t leave APC for Saraki: While vowing that they will never leave the APC for Saraki and his group, the new faction said it is determined to ensure that internal democracy is allowed to thrive in the state chapter of the ruling party. They called on the national leadership of the APC and other stakeholders to promptly intervene and help the state chapter to return to the democratic values for which the APC is known.
“We are here so that internal democracy can be engendered in Kwara State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC). As you are aware, the merger of tendencies within the APC was consummated by what was called the New PDP (nPDP) and Legacy Parties namely the defunct ACN, ANPP and CPC. It is regrettable that the nPDP family in our marriage has not only behaved as a superior partner but have done so with impunity,” Abdullahi said.
Speaking further, he said, “the party with the government has been operating a monologue style of communication, when it refused to take to public opinion on policy formulation and project execution. The tax policy of the government is harsh, forceful and antithetical to socio-economic development. Many petty traders have been chased away from business with imposition of levies that didn’t put into account the turn over of the small businesses they do.
Members of the party persecuted: “In 2017, party members were framed up by party leaders in an attempt to annihilate them. Abiodun Baba, our ward secretary in Gambari ward 1, was arraigned before a magistrate court in Ilorin by the Kwara Central senatorial chairman of the party, Alhaji Jimoh Adesina, for abusing Dr. Bukola Saraki on Facebook.
The arraignment came after he was dragged to DSS headquarters in Ilorin by the Publicity Secretary of the party, Sulyman Tunji Buhari. Abiodun got favour in the sight of meaningful Nigerians as 33 lawyers offered him pro bono services.
“In the same vein, one of us, Kayode Oyin-Zubair, was framed up by the party’s Publicity Secretary, Tunji Buhari, because of his critical stance on the injustice and impunity within the party in a fathom bomb saga.
Another party member, Ahmed Buhari was kidnapped at the premises of the state high court and driven to the APC state secretariat where he was brutalised, dehumanised and at gun point, forced to implicate Oyin-Zubair as sponsor of the spurious bombing allegation.
“But the matter was promptly reported to the State Commissioner of Police. Investigations later revealed the allegations were untrue. The above are few of the trauma, injustice, victimisation and inhuman treatments that loyal party members have been subjected to in the hands of the party leaders in the state.”
The new faction also accused the pro-Saraki faction of marginalising and victimising elected political office holders who are opposed to their views within the ruling party. “It may interest you to know that when the member representing Balogun/Ojomu constituency in the State House of Assembly, Honorable Saheed Popoola, was involved in a fatal auto accident, he didn’t get a simple “get well” message from the state executive of the party.
This is someone who was visited in the hospital and at home by numerous well meaning Nigerians, including opposition party leaders and chieftains from Kwara and even from other states of the federation. Popoola is the chairman of the House committee on Information. And if such a highly placed member of our party couldn’t attract empathy from its leaders, what would have been the lot of ordinary members?
On restructuring we stand: On what the group is really out to achieve with its declaration of independence from the state leadership of the party, Abdullahi said, “we demand that the party leadership be restructured. The present arrangement where the state party chairman, women leader, youth leader and publicity secretary are from the same senatorial district is unacceptable for fair play and equity. We thought the party will make use of the last year’s congresses to correct the injustices when it filled up other vacant positions within the party.
We are the Reformation Group: “We demand for an open forum devoid of censorship where the government can genuinely engage residents of the state on burning issues like water reticulation of many years that has gulped N10billion and other issues.
While we await response of the relevant authorities, we are constrained to announce a committee of men and women of proven characters, to lead this reformation group to warm the party back into the hearts of the electorates and cause justice to reign in the party.”