Lai Mohammed: The emergence of a new political order in Kwara

Date: 2019-06-06

THE swearing in of the business mogul and oil magnate Alhaji Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq last Wednesday as the eight democratically elected governor of Kwara State signposts the emergence of a new political order in the state.

Immediately the outgoing Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, decamped from the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, the immediate past Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed emerged as the political leader of APC in the state.

Lai Mohammed was not new in the struggle to wrestle political power from the Saraki political dynasty, which had been in charge for 40 years.

He contested as the governorship candidate of the Alliance for Democracy, AD, in 2003 and was also the arrowhead of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, in 2007 when Dele Belgore, SAN was the main opposition governorship standard bearer.

Lai Mohammed has indeed been the arrowhead of opposition parties in the state before fortunes smiled on him in the last general elections where the APC he led cleared all the elective posts on offer.

Ministerial reappointment clamour

In view of these developments, APC leaders and groups in Kwara are clamouring for his reappointment into the cabinet of President Muhammadu Buhari to consolidate on the victory of the party in the state.

Consequently, the APC in Ifelodun Local Council of Kwara State threw its weight behind the reappointment of Lai Mohammed as minister.

This is just as the party dissociated itself from the statement credited to the duo of Chief James Bamisaye Ayeni and Mr Jide Usman on the banner of Kwara South Elders Forum, asking President Buhari not to consider Lai Mohammed for reappointment.

Ifelodun LGA Chairman, Mr. Mohammed Awobimpe Shilo, in a statement, berated Ayeni and Usman, saying that they did not have the mandate to speak for the party.

Shilo clarified that there was never a time the party leadership in the local council deliberated on issues bordering on the reappointment of the former Information Minister let alone move against him.

He particularly noted that the APC in Ifelodun LGA was not aware of the membership of Jide Usman in what he referred to as "illegal body" known as Kwara South Elders Forum and was not in a position to represent the party.

Shilo added that the APC support for the reappointment of Lai Mohammed, who hails from Oro in Irepodun local government area, was based on the fact that he was born and raised in Igbaja, a community in Ifelodun local government area.

Also, local council chairmen of APC in Kwara South Senatorial District of the state-backed Lai Mohammed for reappointment as minister and urged members of the public to dismiss the press statement by the elders’ forum of the party in the senatorial district that Lai Mohammed was not fit for reappointment.

They in a statement titled," Re: Don't reappoint Lai Muhammad as Minister" jointly signed by Hon Mohammed Shilo Awobimpe: Chairman Ifelodun LG; Hon Aransiola Oyeyemi Samson: Chairman Irepodun LG; Hon Bamidele Ogunbayo: Chairman Isin LG. Engr Muhideen Shittu, Chairman Oke Ero LG; Hon Olawale Awelewa, Chairman Ekiti LG; Hon Taiye Olaniyi, Chairman Oyun LG; and Hon Yusuf Abdulganiyu Kehinde, chairman Offa LGA.

They said: "Our attention had been drawn to the press release issued on the 22nd May 2019 by some elders claiming to be speaking for Kwara South APC elders. This should be disregarded in its entirety and whatever it stands for.

"We the seven local government party chairmen that constitute Kwara South Senatorial District implore the general public to disregard their press statement and advise the party at the state to take appropriate action against these men so as to serve as a deterrent to others.

"We are bold to say that the signatories of the said release, Chief J.B. Ayeni and one Jide Usman, are not speaking for Kwara South let alone their local government areas. We the seven local government party chairmen that constitute Kwara South Senatorial District implore the general public to disregard their press statement and advise the party at the state to take appropriate action against these men so as to serve as a deterrent to others.

"At the moment, the party hierarchy in the seven local government areas of the senatorial district have not constituted any elders’ forum or committee to speak for it. And as we all know, there’s legally-constituted party structure at all levels. These are the only legally-authorised body to speak on behalf of the Kwara South APC on all matters relating to the members of the party in the senatorial district."

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