AbdulRazak running one-man show in Kwara, worse than ousted government, says Popoola
Saheed Popoola was an active participant in the ‘O to Ge’ movement that ushered in the incumbent Governor of Kwara State, AbdulRahaman AbdulRazak.
A former Chairman, Offa Local Council of Kwara State, who currently represents Shawo/Igbo Idun constituency in the State Assembly, said his faction of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, led by Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has now formed a parallel line with the group under the control of Governor AbdulRazak and had formally joined the Social Democratic Party (SDP). Popoola swore that his faction would show AbdulRazak the exit door from the Government House, Ilorin, come 2023.
Why is it difficult to resolve this crisis that has led to your eventual defection to SDP?
All of us as progressive-minded politicians worked together as one big family within the APC to wrestle Kwara from the jugular of political wolves under the movement christened ‘O To Ge,’ some three years ago. But we didn’t know that some of us were pretenders. In fact, their plan was to unseat the political dynasty of Bukola Saraki and take over to continue with the political style we all condemned as regressive. We never knew that there was an age-long animosity between the families of AbdulRazak and Saraki.
The first person the Governor went for was our party chairman, Bashiru Omolaja Bolarinwa. We warned him against the removal, but he didn’t listen to us.
But don’t you think that your disunity before the 2023 elections could pave way for the return of the political group you sent packing barely three years ago?
Since the Governor felt that he could do it alone, we have equally decided to leave him to campaign alone. Here is the Governor that singlehandedly made all his appointees. Saraki would still listen to a bit to his followers on issues like that. The Governor started the crisis. He knew what he wanted and he went for it – to seize control of the party machinery to the exclusion of others. But the good news is that all the progressive-minded politicians in Kwara state had resolved to work in support of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s success towards becoming the next President of Nigeria. As we do this, we had made up our mind and asked God not to bring anyone like AbdulRazak to us again.
There is this belief that members of your camp complained of neglect by the Governor. What do you truly mean by him not ‘carrying you along?’
Well, when we campaigned, we did it together. But while appointing commissioners, he brought in all his friends who were not with us during the struggle and made them commissioners. We are not saying that we want to run the government for him but we deserved to be carried along. This action makes him worse than the past government.
But it appears that your faction is in the minority?
No. We are in the majority. When we were together during the ‘O To Ge’ era, we were four blocks coming together as an entity. As I speak with you, three of us are together while only one is with him. Some of those with him are also surreptitiously working with us. We have confidence that we will send him out of the Government house come the year 2023.
Is it true that you and your members have decamped to another party? Besides, what informed the choice of the new party?
We have moved to Social Democratic Party (SDP). There is no reconciliation that can work now; it is too late in the day to even contemplate one. We have left APC for him. After he would have left the Governor’s seat, we will return to APC. We are all progressive politicians and by reason of ideology, the SDP is equally a progressive party and that was the reason we chose the party. We will use the platform of the party to send him away. We are ready to discuss with parties of similar ideology ahead of the 2023 polls but certainly not with AbdulRazak again, unless he is not going to be the governorship candidate of the APC in the 2023 polls.
So far, you have sounded as if the Governor has not performed to the expectation of the electorate. What is your assessment of his performance in office as governor?
He truly has some achievements in terms of infrastructure development. I will give him some 30 per cent in this area. But because he is not a democrat and a progressive-minded person, he couldn’t achieve more than that. His style can’t last. Politics is not for one man, showing dictatorial tendencies.