By Supo Atobatele
Yet again, Kwara is in the news for the wrong reason: Why would a
ruling party be so determined to do itself in? The foreboding story
from Kwara is the stuff of Greek tragedy, complete with all its
From Otege (enough is enough) to Otunya(let’s start again), the battle
for the soul of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kwara has
started in earnest.
It is ironic that barely two years in office, Gov. Abdulrahman
Abdulrazaq is again on the frontlines, but this time, he is now ranged
against the rainbow coalition of party leaders which ushered him into
How did this party which rode to Government House on such phenomenal
goodwill come to this pass? The answer may well lie in the inimitable
“aloof ” governance style of this poker-faced scion of the AbdulRazaq
family of Ilorin.
To be sure, many of the now estranged party leaders, who literarily
‘rail roaded’ the governor into Government House as against other
formidable aspirants, would be gnashing their teeth while questioning
their sense of judgment.
Now the chickens have come home to roost and AbdulRazaq with his
collaborators in the national executive of the APC have sacked the
party’s caretaker chairman in the state, Bashir Omolaja Bolarinwa,
fondly called BOB.
AbdulRazaq, who was a fringe player in the politics of the state
before 2015, has now become the face of the APC, courtesy of the
cavalier politics of the Mai Mala Buni leadership of the party in
Many, with the benefit of hindsight, have now come to the disturbing
realisation that the man around whom was woven the Otoge Movement is
not a party man. ” We saw it coming” many an analyst would say!
From little infractions, laid back snobbery and diffident
indifference, AbdulRazaq was from his first day in office determined
to be his own man rather than an affable party man.
Many would recall that aggrieved members of the Otoge movement had
often described the AbdulRazaq government as a ” one-man
They often cite the December 2019 constitution of the governor’s
cabinet which they said did not have the input of party leaders such
as Information and Culture Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, his
Transportation counterpart, Gbemi Saraki, Akogun Iyiola Oyedepo,
Alhaji LAK Jimoh, Chief Rex Olawoye, and stormy petrel of Kwara
politics, Musbau Esinrogunjo, among others.
Esinrogunjo, one of the most passionate foot soldiers of the Otoge
revolution, would later be arrested for allegedly threatening to kill
the governor in a viral video!
That the groundswell of animosity against the governor runs deep is
exemplified by the recent visit of leading lights of the party in the
state to the national secretariat of the APC in Abuja over the
whimsical removal of BOB, ostensibly on the grounds that the governor
was not comfortable working with him!
On the eminent delegation list were Prof. Oba Abdulraheem, a former
Vice Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, as well as Iyiola
Oyedepo, one of the quartet that launched the blistering radio
campaign that saw the exit of the Abdulfatah Ahmed administration and
precipitated the fall of the Saraki dynasty.
If the national executive of the APC has continued to dilly dally over
its gross violation of its own constitution, it is only an indication
of its withering contempt for the visiting distinguished Kwarans and
indeed thousands of law abiding party faithful in the state whose case
they came to present in Abuja.
It is, however, instructive that opposition voices to this tactless
removal of only Bolarinwa among the 36 leaders of chapters of the
party are getting louder and the battle line has clearly been drawn.
Asked at a public forum last week what the APC leaders in the state
were doing to resolve the impasse, Oyedepo said: ” When we get to the
bridge, we will know how to cross it, but the decision to remove our
chairman shall never work.
“…Gbemi (Saraki) and Lai (Mohammed) , they are with us, they are
fully with us. They are not with the governor. “
For AbdulRazaq, who emerged as governor on a shakey political
structure, his battles on so many fronts may yet prove costly.
Many of his disappointed admirers say the governor has surrounded
himself with too many fair weather politicians who tell him only what
he wants to hear as opposed to the political realities on the ground.
They indeed readily cite the Ilorin-born journalist turned lawyer and
politician, Kunle Suleiman, whose sole political credential is being a
member of the PDP at formation in the state.
Also in the narrow circle of advisers is the shifty Senator Suleiman
Ajadi who was handed the Kwara South Senatorial District seat on a
platter of gold at the height of the Saraki’s suzerainty in Kwara.
Today, the duo are the King’s Horsemen defining the party’s blurred
political direction in the state and pouring invectives on respected
party elders who are battling to stem the drift into the abyss.
How long this drama of the absurd would last remains to be seen in the