From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
Concerned Elders/Stakeholders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Kwara State chapter, have described the duo of Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed, and Minister of State for Transportation Olugbemi Saraki as having no electoral value to challenge or fight Governor Abdulrahaman Abdulrazaq.
Countering Wednesday attack on the Kwara governor by delegation loyal to the ministers, the elders told reporters at the National Secretariat of the APC that the ministers are ‘paperweight politicians’ and ordinary appointees of President Muhammadu Buhari with little or no contribution to make to Kwara politics.
Dismissing the threat to unleash fangs on the governor should the party’s national leadership fail to revert the decision to remove Bashir Omolaja Bolarinwa, they maintained that the state party chapter under Bolarinwa’s leadership was a ‘disaster waiting to happen’.
The group, led by Chairman of Kwara APC Elders Forum, Barr Kunle Suleiman, Nigeria’s former ambassador to Malaysia Amb Nurudeen Muhammed and Sen Suleiman Makanjuola Ajadi, among others, described the other APC faction as failed governorship aspirants.
Asked about the involvement of Mohammed and Saraki, Barr Suleiman responded: ‘Those ministers and Association of Failed Governorship Aspirants can come to Abuja to say nonsense but they are just paperweight politicians. They have no influence at the grassroots. Even a professor, like Oba Abdulrasheed, who prides himself as a former University Vice-Chancellor, would still have to come to the grassroots to learn.’
Also attacking the ministers, Sen Ajadi described them as presidential appointees who lack the capability to win elections: ‘Ministers are not elected officials. President Muhammadu Buhari picked them not based on their capability to win elections. If you check the pedigree of the two ministers, you will understand what I am saying that they do not have the capacity to win elections.’
Stating their mission to the headquarters of the ruling in Abuja, the delegation of elders said: ‘We also wish to make some clarifications to members of the public, particularly our national party leaders, on some issues concerning party administration back home. First, we throw our weight behind the decision of the national headquarters of our party to appoint a dogged, committed and level-headed party chieftain Abdullahi Samari as the Acting Chairman of the party.
‘This indeed is a lifesaving decision for the party that had been in the vice grip of power-drunk and self-conceited individuals whose only loyalists are garrulous and selfish few whose only anger with the Governor is that he did not make himself a yes-man or stooge through whom the public vault is thrown open.
‘For many months, the former chairman Bashir Bolarinwa and his co-travelers have launched a campaign of calumny against the fine gentleman to the chagrin of Kwara public who wonder what could warrant these party chieftains from the ruling party attacking their own Governor despite his glaring record of achievements in less than two years, humility, openness, and prudence.
‘It is on record that these gangs dedicated a weekly programme to denigrate the Governor, his administration, and the House of Assembly. They never missed any opportunity to denigrate the office of the Governor. Certainly, no system, much less an organised political party, can survive the level of indiscipline, arrogance and unbridled ambitions of these lousy few.
‘The intervention of the national headquarters of the party is therefore timely and necessary to save the party from these oppressive, self-centred gang.
‘If anyone doubted our description of these few people, their public show of shame yesterday here in Abuja has again shown who they are. It is on this note that we condemn their foul languages against the national leadership of our party. Having said these, they remain our brothers and we apologise to the national leadership of our party for their unruly conduct and choice of words.
‘Specifically, on behalf of the teeming members of our party, we apologise to the National Caretaker Committee Chairman and Governor of Yobe State His Excellency Governor Mai Mala Buni and the National Caretaker Committee Secretary Senator John James Akpanudoedehe. Kwarans, despite being brave and proud people, are not known for irreverent or foul languages.
‘We also apologise to the North Central Caucus of our party especially the Governor of Niger State His Excellency Sanni Bello over the unsavoury comments and unfair allegation by these few elements,’ they noted.
While defending Bolarinwa’s removal, the elders noted that ‘contrary to their claims, Bolarinwa was rightly removed as chairman of the party for his many anti-party conducts which include but are not limited to open condemnation and denigration of the achievements of the APC government for his own selfish objectives
‘Using the radio and social media platforms to launch attacks on the person of the Governor and members of the State Assembly without any provocation. There is no love lost between him and the majority of the state executive council members who he never consulted.
‘His refusal to accept the leadership status of the Governor and his utter disrespect for the office of Governor in his language and conduct. It has become a norm for Hon. BOB and his co-travellers to organise thugs and miscreants to disrupt programmes. The actions, utterances and general behaviour of these few party chieftains against the governor and his administration are motivated by superciliousness, personal aggrandisement and their desire to ensure the failure of the Governor and his administration.
‘Bolarinwa ran a divisive state executive council and never missed an opportunity to oppose the government elected on the platform of the party he purported to lead. He became the major opposition to the government elected on the platform of his own party without any just cause.
‘Against these backdrops, we fully support the decision of the party to remove Hon. Bashir Omolaja Bolarinwa as his continuous leadership of the party was a disaster waiting to happen. We align ourselves with his replacement with a rather cool-headed, committed and mature party chieftain Abdullahi Samari who we are sure can better unify the party,’ they insisted.
Other members of the delegation were Gen Tunde Bello (retd), Sen Muhammed Ahmed, Chief JB Ayeni (Chairman APC Elders Forum in Kwara South), Alhaji Alabi Ilyasu, Chief Wole Oke, Hon Ayinla Folorunsho, Alhaji Abubakar Ndakene, Hon. Mumuni Katugi, Gen Ibrahim Bola Kale Agbabiaka and Alhaji Hameed Adio.