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OPINION: Expectations Ahead Of APC State Congress in Kwara



The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is moving closer to reaching crescendo in the process of electing new leaders across the strata or organs of the party with the national convention expected to hold at a yet to be declared date.

Hitherto, new leaders have emerged across wards and local government levels in states of the federation while the state congresses are to hold today, Saturday October 16, 2021, all things being equal.

The Mai Mala Buni led Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, which comprises experienced hands with the hindsight of wide consultations, is deftly managing the the hues and cries of some people who continue to allege marginalisation in some states. An example is Kwara.

It appears the national headquarters of the party has truly done its due diligence and concluded that those still crying being sidelined have chosen to be mischievous as they have repeatedly ignored opportunities to work with others. For instance, sources at the national headquarters of APC averred that the appeals committee constituted in the aftermath of party registration did not find most of the allegations leveled against Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq to be true. While a faction led by Honourable Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed alleged that thousands of its members were shut out of the process, a team that was sent to register those purportedly shut out found the claim to be a ruse. It was also established that virtually all the leaders who shouted that their members were disenfranchised were found to have themselves renewed their membership without any harassment, leading the party headquarters to question their subsequent claims. This explains why the APC national secretariat began to see through the noise in Kwara. The thinking now is that the Minister’s camp is taking advantage of their closeness to the media to want to mislead the public about the true situation in the party.

Another thinking is that a few of the disgruntled leaders may have decided to go for zero sum politics whereby they want to leave the party unless they have things their own way. Many in the party have condemned this attitude as they are still being urged to embrace dialogue and accept the leadership of the Governor like in other states of the Federation. Their obvious intention to fully control the party and exclude the Governor is seen as unacceptable because that will be a bad precedence.

While attempts are still being made to convince these few elements to embrace peace, keen watchers of events in Kwara APC will notice the near seamless conduct of the congresses so far, beginning from ward to local government. Not only were these two congresses totally peaceful and devoid of any violence, reports of the APC appeals show that Kwara has one of the least cases before the appeal. This, according to sources in the party headquarters, shows that the so called crisis in the party is largely a media creation, fuelled by fifth columnists to create wrong perceptions.

Of course, disagreements, conflicts, internal maneuvering for power, conflict resolution and consensus building are usual phenomenon in politics everywhere in the world. In fact, they are part and percel of the dynamics of internal politics as seen largely among political parties in sub sahara Africa. It is the capacity of each leadership of the party to deal with emerging or widening cracks and them move on that dictates the direction and future of such party. Events of the past few weeks since the congresses began have shown that Kwara APC is not doing badly, compared to other states.

The fact that various interests want to control a political party does not mean the party is doomed. Such interests are universal. This is especially not strange for a party like APC in Kwara that is a potpourri of different interests that came together to form it. Major focus was on Kwara prior to the commencement of the ward congress about the possible happenings during and after the congresses of the APC. But the zero violence so far shows that the party is getting on well. Today, the party is waxing stronger building on the successes recorded during the wards, local governments congresses to the state congress billed for this Saturday.

Ahead of the congress, different names have cropped up as chairmanship candidates. Whoever emerges, it is clear that the party cannot be the same again as discipline and party-government relations will be top priorities. Observers expect to have a new party leadership that will truly propagate the good works of the Governor which are very obvious in education, health, rural development, agriculture, workers’ welfare, security, and gender and youths inclusion and empowerment. These strides, coupled with the Governor’s live and let live philosophy, have attracted more members into the party, especially from the opposition.

Today, Kwara APC is going into Saturday’s state congress as a more determined party ready to consolidate on its remarkable progress and achievements, leaving behind elements who may have decided not to participate for some personal reasons. The consensus of the Kwara people is that while the government is clearly making impacts in the lives of the people, it needs a disciplined and cohesive party executives that will concentrate on selling the programmes of the government ahead of the 2023 election.


OPINION: Dear Saraki, Kwarans Are Not Foolish




Bukola Saraki, immediate past President of the Nigerian Senate and former Governor of Kwara State has learnt nothing from the Otoge movement that crumbled a dynasty whose foundation his father, Dr Olusola Saraki laboriously laid long time ago. Kwarans don’t pray he learns though because in it lies their continued freedom from the shackles of fiefdom which the Saraki dynasty he superintends represents. So, they are saying never again to the dynasty.

Before Otoge happened in 2019, the Sarakis called the shots. Bukola Saraki determined who gets what, when and how. All the elective posts in the state were in his grip. Then, over the years something led to something, and to Otoge which completely uprooted the Saraki dynasty.

If there was any lesson from the Otoge movement, it’s that of humility. This, many observers thought the proud Saraki would have internalised long after the revolution. But a leopard does not change its spot. You cannot feign humility. Saraki, as many scenarios have confirmed and continue to confirm, is anything but humble.

He was therefore in his true colour when on Tuesday, October 27, 2021 he granted an interview to Arise TV. Very condescending, he talked down to Kwarans. Asked what he has learnt from Otoge, Saraki said the Otoge movement taught him that “elections have to do sometimes with sentiments or propaganda.”

According to him, “If you come to Kwara today and talk to people, you’ll find that a lot of them will tell you that ‘we were sold lies and propaganda… We have made certain mistakes in following up the issues’ and that at the end of the day, they were better of then than now.”

Sir, Kwarans are not daft. This attempt to revise the narrative and guilt-trip the people is dead on arrival. The import of the Otoge revolution is not lost. Everyone was clear about the motive of the movement: to send the feudal lord and his acolytes packing, thereby ending decades of misgovernance and impunity, enslavement of the masses, tokenism, amongst others.

It’s the height of disrespect and revisionism for Saraki to then come out and say Kwarans were sold lies and propaganda to provoke the Otoge movement. By this, he is unwittingly insulting the sensibilities of the Kwara populace, saying they are gullible. Kwarans are not foolish, please. We were wise enough to see that based on the realities on ground then, our state deserved better. And there was no need for anyone to sell lies or propaganda. The demarketing factors were all there for everyone to see.

Basic education was in a shambles. The administration of AbdulFatah Ahmed, Saraki’s sidekick got a facility from UBEC to upgrade and enhance basic education in the state. The facility was diverted, leading to UBEC blacklisting the state for several years. This took the state aback as a large number of schools across the three senatorial districts of the state are nothing to write home about in structure and facilities.

Despite the humongous funds voted to tackle the problem of water in the state under the Saraki dynasty, the current administration of AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq inherited a decripit water system where major waterworks were already dysfunctional and as such many homes cut from getting water; a basic necessity of life. Workers in the water corporation were already on strike over unpaid salaries and entitlements.

The tale at the health sector too is sordid. Many health facilities were already in a state of dilapidation across the state. Important health materials and equipment were not available despite evidence of funds allocated for them. In the heat of the COVID-19 virus, Kwara had no single ventilator. How we were able to push through, emerging one of the best sub-nationals that responded well to the virus is thanks to the good governance style and efficient resources management skill of Governor AbdulRazaq.

The sad story is the same for the agricultural sector. The present administration did not inherit a single functional tractor in the whole of the state. Political farmers had a field day and were incentivised by the previous governments. All these are a microcosm of the failed system Bukola Saraki in his rude remark said Kwarans were better of with. I have not added the ill-treatment workers got under the dynasty. Their salaries were not paid as and when due; at the local government level, civil servants were getting percentage salaries. No promotion, and when there is, it is not cash-backed. The morale of workers was at an all-time low. These are areas, basic, basic ones, where the Saraki dynasty failed woefully.

So, what has changed? A lot. This AbdulRazaq government brought Kwara out of UBEC blacklist, clearing the backlogs owed to the federal government commission. Basic education is now getting optimum attention. Schooling facilities are being upgraded across the state. About 600 basic schools were drafted for facelift and renovation. And for the first time in recent history, Kwara had a recruitment process of teachers that was clearly merit-based and objective. In the past, recruitment forms were distributed at political platforms, paving the way for misfits in such a sensitive sector.

Otoge has led to the resuscitation of our major waterworks. Staff of the water corporation have been paid their backlogs. Water pipes are being properly channeled and replaced. And the tankers we saw yesterday, we are seeing them no more. So many health facilities have got a facelift under this administration. New specialist health centers are being built. Kwara now has ventilators. Our oxygen plant is back to life after years of abandon. The present administration has procured new tractors for the use of farmers.

Civil servants are getting their pay as and when due, both at state and local levels. Several backlogs owed by the previous administrations have been settled and are being settled. Civil servants are now getting promotion, cash-backed promotion. These and more are what have changed. Is this a move forward or backward? So what does Saraki mean when he said Kwarans were better off under the failed system led by his dynasty than now?

If he had really learnt anything, Saraki was expected to have wholeheartedly used the medium to apologise to Kwarans for dragging them aback and denying them the most basic things, not opening his buccal cavity to talk down to the people. It shows he’s yet to be humbled.

Abdulganiy writes from Ilorin, Kwara State

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OPINION: Lai Mohammed a Liar and a Thief?



Lai Mohammed’s notoriety as a compulsive and inveterate liar is already secure and unchallengeable, but the normally reticent governor of Kwara State, Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq, told ThisDay newspaper yesterday that Lai is also a common thief.

He said Lai literally stole N100 million donated to the governor by an unnamed Igbo businessman to help with his election in 2019.

That’s a pretty grave allegation against a serving minister by a serving governor, particularly one who isn’t known for flippancy and for hogging the limelight. At the time of writing this, Lai hasn’t denied the allegation even after the Peoples Gazette reached out to him for comment.

As I wrote in a June 10, 2017 column titled “Large Lies of Lying Lai Mohammed,” Lai Mohammed’s entire career as a Minister of Information and Culture has been defined by a bewilderingly extravagant fondness for willful and easily falsifiable lies. His first name doesn’t just share an uncanny phonemic kinship with “lie”; he actually embodies lies in the most audaciously disreputable way imaginable.

Now that we now know that in addition to his well-known lies, he is also an unsophisticated and conscienceless thief, I think he should have been named “Lateef,” which would have given cartoonists and comedians the artistic liberty to say that the “La” in his name is “liar” and the “teef” is “thief.” 😂That’s a joke, please! Incidentally, all the Lateefs I know are honest, honorable, hardworking people.

Seriously, though, lies are the parents of all kinds of moral pervasions. My father used to say liars are almost always also thieves—and more.

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Kwara APC Inaugurates LG Chairmen, Secretaries, Stakeholders Pledge Peaceful State Congress



Kwara State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Friday sworn-in the newly elected local government chairmen across the 16 local government areas.

A chieftain of APC, Barrister Anthony Towoju, administered the oath of office and allegiance on the chairmen and secretaries on behalf of the party.

At the brief event in Ilorin, the state caretaker chairman of APC, Alhaji Abdullahi Samari congratulated the new officials on their victories at the last local government congress.

“On behalf of the leader of the party in Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, I want to congratulate our local government chairmen and secretaries on your victories at the last local government congress. This victory is a victory for all of us. Some of you contested against one another. Try to embrace everybody. Try to make peace. Try to work and make the party waxing stronger in the state,” Samari advised.

The chairman urged them to be magnanimous in victory and embrace all members of the party in their domains.

Samari advised to work towards consolidating on the successes of the party in their respective local government areas.

The chairmen are: Sheu Yahaya (Asa); Abubakar Adamu Doo (Baruten); Muhammed Kudu Dumagi (Edu); Awelewa Olawale (Ekiti); Abdullateef Kadir (Ifelodun); Abeeb Ajibola (Ilorin East); Ambali Jaji (Ilorin South); Suleiman Tejidini (Ilorin West); Azeez Yakub (Irepodun); Segun Awogbade (Isin); Ismail Dio Mora (Kaiama); Adebayo Jimoh (Moro); Adekunle Moshood (Offa); Gbadebo David (Oke-Ero); Kamar Akanbi (Oyun) and Muhammed Alhaji Swasun (Patigi).

The swearing in came hours after APC stakeholders across the state held a parley in Ilorin, the state capital, pledging a peaceful state congress on Saturday.

The parley was attended by Deputy Governor Kayode Alabi; House of Assembly and cabinet members; party elders; and representatives of the party from Abuja.

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