By Abiodun Esan
Ahead of the forthcoming congress of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the Integrity Group of the party in Kwara has rejected the consensus proposal by a faction of the party loyal to Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq
The group, which made this known on Sunday in Ilorin at a news conference addressed by its Chairman, Umar Shabba, said it was determined to prove its numerical strength through direct congresses.
Represented by the Vice Chairman, Isiaka Alao, the group declared that its members in APC were fully prepared for direct congresses immediately after the registration and revalidation exercise.
“We hereby state categorically that we are fully prepared to go for direct congresses immediately after registration/revalidation exercise.
“We are not, and shall not be part of the unilateral “consensus” arrangement being proposed by the governor’s group.
“The beauty of democracy is in allowing minority to have their say, even when majority have their way.
“The only civilised way to prove our numerical values is through congresses, not by any proxy.
“With regret, it has become an open secret that our governing party in this state is critically ill, lying in the operation theatre for surgery.
“Regrettably still, the Chief Medical Director is contemplating “mercy killing” by withholding extreme medical measures, rather than providing life support for the patient,”” he said.
He also said the members of the group had declared support for Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture, and Sen. Gbemisola Saraki, Minister of State for Transport.
“We hereby express our confidence and unflinching support for Alhaji Lai Mohammed and Senator Gbemisola Ruqayyat Saraki for being good ambassadors of Kwara State as Honourable Ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“We deeply and passionately appreciate their contributions to upholding the honour and glory of APC in this state.
“We cannot but eulogise Hon. Bashir Omolaja Bolarinwa for his sense of maturity, sacrifices and uprightness that have been sustaining the party till date,” he added.
He described the group as a think-tank and an advisory body that provides intellectual support services to the State Working Committee of the party.
He called on the national leadership of the APC to address the complaints of party members that were not registered in the last registration and revalidation exercise.
The chairman said aggrieved members of the party must be allowed to take custody of registration materials for the scheduled registration exercise.
“Justice demands that the complainant in a dispute should not be deprived the fruits of his/her complaints. We ought to take custody of the fresh materials.
“You are not unaware that Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq’s group made total mess of the Membership and Registration/Revalidation exercise in this state.
“Is it not an antithesis to the catalogue of moralities of ‘O to Gee’ philosophy that the product of the struggle was unable to conduct free, fair and transparent demography of our political family (APC)?
” Nothing could be more shameful indeed!
“While many prospective members were shut out, the existing family members were deliberately blackened out of the exercise.
” This necessitated a formal complaint lodged by the Legacy Group to the national leadership of the party.
“Much as we appreciate the positive disposition of the National Headquarters to our plight in Kwara State, we hereby appeal to their conscience that justice must not only be done, but must be seen to have been done.
” Otherwise, the corporate existence of our party might be in jeopardy.
“In the past few weeks, there have been waterlogged of stories in the media about the cause and effect of the unfortunate infighting in our party.
“There have been different narratives from different perspectives and affinity,” he said.
The chairman said that it was not true that the APC leadership abandoned its gubernatorial candidate as claimed by AbdulRazaq.
“It is also important to affirm that there is not a scintilla of truth in the stories of contest for the leadership of APC between Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq and the Hon. Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji AbdulRauf Lai Mohammed, during and after the elections.
“The position of the party that the governor is the leader is never in dispute and it is so recognised by the rank and file of our party in this state.
“Having carefully followed the sordid trending events in the party, we must, without any reservation, state that we are highly embarrassed.
“We are also greatly worried and disappointed that our State Governor at a recent book launch in Ilorin can be referencing and talking about some pre-election matters that took place two years before his election.
“We also note with concern that the timing of his message and the manner it was presented only goes to portray our party as an organisation with no credible leadership or any internal mechanism where such matters can be referred,” he said.
According to him, when the APC crisis began to rear its ugly head in August 2019, elders of the party set up a seven-man committee of elders and leaders to meet with the governor.
He said members of the committee included Alhaji LAK Jimoh, Alhaji Attahiru Manko, Alhaji Adebayo Adisa, Alhaji Isa Afon, Alhaji Hassan Salami (of blessed memory) and lyiola Oyedepo.
He added that the committee was to interface with the governor and commence the process of reconciliation.
“It was at this meeting (the first and only till date) that the governor indeed came up with the issue that party leaders did not avail him with campaign funds and cars during his electioneering campaign.
“But in the spirit of genuine reconciliation, the elders made it clear to the governor that even if he was handed all the monies and materials as he demanded, he could not have achieved more than the victory already secured.
“What was therefore expected after the meeting was that the governor would bring everyone together in the interest of good governance and true reconciliation, but this was not to be.
“Curiously, two years running, it is surprising that the governor can still continue to nurse grudges on issues that pre-date his election.
“This may perhaps also interest you to note that we did not limit the peace process to the governor and elders alone.
“We went further to invite both the, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed as-well-as the Party Chairman, Hon. Bashir Bolarinwa, both of whom availed us of their positions and involvement.
“Therefore the meeting was expanded such that the duo and the party elders would meet with the governor to resolve issues.
“Regrettably, the governor has not been disposed or willing to create the atmosphere for any meeting till date.
“We are therefore shocked to note that despite the efforts made to ensure a lasting peace in the party, the governor has continued to display that false sense of grievances, which enable rational minds to begin to doubt the genuineness of the governor’s claims.
“We believe strongly that a wise and prudent statesman should always approach long established institutions and practices with public caution and to be more guided by history and experience rather than the universal doctrine about man and society,” the chairman added.
Shabba further accused the governor of taking decisions without recourse to the leadership of the party.
He alleged that the governor unilaterally chose Kayode Alabi as deputy governor rather than Olukayode Abogunrin who was the party’s choice. (NAN)