Kwara APC and its hush-hush parallel congresses
Although almost two thirds of the states of the federation returned parallel congresses, what happened in Kwara showed that contrary to general belief, the people are not politically docile.
Nobody imagined that such a day would come that some politicians in the state could summon courage and openly declare their political preferences and challenge the leadership of the scion of the state’s political supremacy, Dr. Bukola Saraki, popularly called ‘The Leader ‘ by his supporters.
Against the foregoing, it would be out of the way to deny that there were parallel congresses in Kwara State on May 19, 2018.
But, it was the congress participated by Saraki’s group at the sprawling State’s Banquet Hall adjoining the Government House, Ilorin, that was said to be the most authentic among the three that were simultaneously held at different venues in the state capital.
The other congresses were held at “Arca Santa” Events Centre, along Ilorin/Ajase Ipo Road, and “an undisclosed venue,” respectively.
The “Arca Santa” event was covertly linked to the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in Oro in Ifelodun Local Government council. He sent in a representative to the event that produced 36 officials under the chairmanship of a former House of Representatives member in Lagos State, Alhaji Bashir Omolaja Bolarinwa.
Other visible politicians at the event were, former Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji AbdulRaheem Adedoyin, Alhaji Cook Olododo, former Chief of Staff to ex Governor of the state, Dr. Bukola Saraki, a former Commissioner for Agriculture in Saraki’s administration, Alhaji Moshood Mustapha and Kayode Oyin-Zubir.
The centre was filled to capacity with the big banner of President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo conspicuously displayed at the entrance of the sprawling venue.
Unconfirmed reports had it that one Mr. Ayo Obisesan, who introduced himself as a national officer of the party from Federal Capital Territory (FCT), conducted the congresses.
Besides, some dark-google wearing men introduced themselves as officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), sent to observe and monitor proceedings at the programme.on
Bolarinwa, in his acceptance speech, called the delegates and elected officials, “true heroes of the democracy and the new pillars,” where the hope of the state would be anchored, adding: “Let me remind you that all eyes are on you.
Our people are looking in your direction to deliver Kwara from the state of inertia we are now.
Until the decayed tooth is removed from the mouth, the mouth will not have peace.
The earlier we send those that have changed the slogan of APC in Kwara State from ‘change’ to ‘progress’ packing, the better.
“We have resolved to solidly queue behind President Muhammadu Buhari and his government. The President and his government have done more good to Kwarans than any Nigerian President in our recent history. We should therefore not align with forces that want to destroy our party before deserting it.”
The anonymous congress was said to have been backed by a former governorship aspirant, Rev Bunmi Olusona.
But, sources claimed that Olusona, a former Student Union activist, could actually have been working for a former Senator that represented Kwara Central, Gbemisola Saraki, a biological sister to the President of Senate, who is presently the Board Chairman of a Federal University at Otu Oke in Bayelsa State.
She might be quietly staging a comeback to politics, after losing out to the incumbent governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, in the 2011 governorship poll.
Present at the Saraki’s factional congress were, Governor Ahmed, Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Dr. Ali Ahmad, National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, former Interim National Chairman of the APC, Alhaji Kawu Baraje and the other two Senators in the state, Alhaji Sha’aba Lafiagi (Kwara North) and Rafiu Adebayo (Kwara South), alongside the six House of Representatives members in the state among other dignitaries.
The Chairman of the Congress Committee, Senator Salihu Hussein, said APC in the state returned the 36 members of its executive, “without a single opposition.”
He added: “We receive return forms from 36 candidates with no opposition, but we will still go ahead with voting by affirmation.”
Speaking shortly at the event, Saraki urged Nigeria politicians to learn from the Kwara model that went peacefully without any hitch. Intriguingly, the APC Appeal Committee deployed to the state, said it was yet to receive any petition or appeal against the Saraki-led congress.
Chairman of the committee, Osita Egwuatu, while on a courtesy visit to Governor Ahmed at the Government House, Ilorin, said the all-inclusive style of the party gave it latitude to ventilate differences and opportunity for amicable resolutions.
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