Kwara: AbdulRasaq's controversial list of commissioner-nominees. By Biodun Fagbemi
The delay in constituting the recently announced cabinet in Kwara State has been blamed on a rumoured Cold War between old factions of state chapter of All Progressives Congress (APC). For about four months, Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRasaq kept mute on the issue, just as many officials of the local APC kept on parrying the question on the reasons for the delay in releasing the list of the nominees for the cabinet.
But on the occasion of his first 100 days in office, the Governor while fielding reporters’ questions dismissed with a wave of hand the rumour of any rift among members of his party, with a promise to send the list of his nominees to the state's House Assembly in a few days time.
According to him, "there is no crisis within our party. It is not true that there is crisis as being peddled."But when The Guardian investigated into the present composition of the party, it was discovered that the leadership crisis that bedevilled it shortly before the last general elections was just swept under the carpet. Like a festering wound, the offensive odour is now oozing out and political analysts with active sensory lobes can perceive it.
Before the polls that caused the paradigm shift in the political landscape in the state, two factions existed within the APC. These were those loyal to the leadership of Prince Sunday Fagbemi and those supporting the block of Akogun Iyiola Oyedepo.
It was in the midst of the imbroglio a new chairman, Bashir Bolarinwa Omolaja, popularly known as 'BOB' emerged. This was the fragile frame with which the party went into the elections. The APC leadership pretended to be one big family in order to dismantle the age-long hegemonic structure of the doyen of the state's politics, late Dr. Olusola Saraki.
The divisions among members were kept in the dark while the reverberating sounds of 'O to ge' (enough is enough) rented the air, sending a false signal of a unified political structure, in readiness for the next political level.
Although, none of the leading characters in the silent crisis was willing to talk to The Guardian on the issue, body languages depicted by them, seem to be suggestive of a looming angst.
Oyedepo said: “I can’t tell you the reason for what you called a delay in the formation of the state’s cabinet. I am just a chieftain of the party and not a member of the executive arm. So I don't know anything about it.”He nevertheless jumped at showering praises on AbdulRasak for sustaining some of the good legacies of his predecessor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed.
Specifically he said: "I praise our Governor for not abandoning the building of the state secretariat by his predecessor. This is a nice initiative on his part. If he had decided to abandon it, it would later on cost the state more funds in future."
For Chief Rex Kola Olawoye, a former Publicity Secretary of the party in the state, "I know nothing about the delay in the cabinet formation. But I think that the Governor could be taking his time, looking for round pegs for round holes."
Sources said the Governor allegedly narrowed his nominees to the members of one of the old factions of the party. Besides, it was speculated that all the three Senators and six House of Assembly members in the state, allegedly represented “the other block” within the party. Should this be true, it then means that things are gradually falling apart for the APC in the state making the center unable to hold.
But Chief Stephen Wole Oke, the Jagunmolu of Shao town, who is also a chieftain of the party, dismissed the rumours of any rift in Kwara APC as "a ruse.”BOB was alleged to have recently demanded for the sponsorship of a statutory trip of the executive members of the party to Abuja, but had his budget proposal abysmally slashed to "a ridiculous amount of money by the order of the power that be."
The APC Chairman was not willing to speak on the development. But his presence at the 100 days anniversary of the government inside the sprawling 'Hall A' of the state's owned hotel, Kwara Hotels could according to a source be a pointer to the fact that the duo “are now flowing along."
Already, the Kwara State House of Assembly has received the first batch of four female nominees for screening and confirmation as commissioners in the state from Governor Abdulrazaq. The Speaker, Engr. Yakubu Danladi Salihu gave this indication last Tuesday while reading the message of the Governor, at the floor of the House.
The Commissioner-nominees, according to the Speaker are; Hajia Sa'adatu Modibbo Kawu from Ilorin South, Mrs. Johanna Kolo, Edu Local Government, Hajia Arinola Fatimah Lawal, Ilorin East and Hajia Aishat Ahman Patigi, Patigi Local Government Area.
The Speaker disclosed that the screening would be announced at a later date.The development is eliciting some reactions from the political pundits in the state. The state chairman of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Engineer Kola Shittu said he was yet to digest the list of the nominees but noted that he never expected anything more from the APC government. He added; “the APC is a tenant in the Government House. They don’t know what governance is all about. Our people were only angry with us during the elections. We will beg them and we shall return to power."
A 26-year-old nominee, Kolo, it was believed would just be rounding off her mandatory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in a few days. But this would be the first time in the recent political history of the state that four females would be nominated for the post of commissioners.
While many people are seeing the development as healthy, others believe that female nominees are grossly inexperienced for the proposed offices.
The loudest critical voice remains that of those who said: "most of us who worked for the party during the last general elections and risked many things to herald AbdulRasak's emergence as Governor are now being treated like lepers without any consideration for political posts."
An aide of the Governor under condition of anonymity canvassed "more patience with my boss. He is just laying the foundation of a new Kwara, where age, status, religion and sex will no longer be a barrier to occupying political offices. He has gone round the state. He has toured the available facilities in the state and discovered how dilapidated they are. He has therefore gone for tested hands that can speedily assist in fixing the moribund facilities."Time will tell whether the state's APC is not in rancour and if AbdulRasak remains the modern Moses to lead Kwaran to the Promised Land.