John Alechenu and Tunde Oyekola
5 July 2021
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MEMBERS of the Kwara State House of Assembly, have dismissed claims by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, that he financially supported their electioneering campaigns.
They also distanced themselves from his statement that Ward congresses will not hold in the state until a fresh membership registration and revalidation exercise was carried out.
The lawmakers insisted that the congress will go ahead on July 24, 2021 as scheduled. They spoke at a press conference in Ilorin, on Sunday.
Speaker of the Assembly, Yakubu Danladi-Salihu who was represented by the Deputy Speaker, Raphael Adetiba, at the event said “Alhaji Lai Mohammed is not an official of the party and cannot speak on behalf of the party.
“The right information we have from the governor, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq who is the leader of APC in Kwara State is that the Ward Congress of our party will hold in Kwara State like in all other states on July 24.
“The Minister should be sanctioned by the party for giving wrong information to members of the APC in the state.”
Twenty other members of the assembly also attended the conference.
It was also gathered that the party leadership is considering sanctions for the minister and his supporters for opening a parallel secretariat, in Ilorin, on Saturday.
One of our correspondents gathered in Abuja, on Sunday, that the party leadership is unhappy with his decision to “fight his governor.”
A highly placed member of the party caucus said, “We are disappointed that someone who should know the rules of our party is acting like this.
“When we had no governor, he (Mohammed) was the party leader. Now, we have a governor, and under our rules, the governor is the leader of the party in the state.
“The problem is that the minister does not want to accept the governor’s leadership which is unfortunate.
“During our last meeting with all of them, the governor offered the minister and his supporters cabinet positions they refused.
One thing is sure, no individual is bigger than the APC, we will apply sanctions if it comes to that.”
Also, the state chapter of the APC has sent a formal complaint to the National Secretariat of the party.
It was learnt that the state chapter of the APC loyal to the governor has written to the national headquarters accusing the minister and his supporters of anti-party activities.
When contacted, the State APC Publicity Secretary, Folaranmi Aro in an interview with one of our Correspondents, said, “The National Caretaker Committee of APC has recognized governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq as the leader of the party and he is the leader of the party in the state.
“We don’t have a problem with the faction of APC led by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed in Kwara State, which opened another Secretariat in Ilorin, the state capital on Saturday.
“The National Chairman of the APC Caretaker Committee, Governor Mai Mala Buni, has clarified this on Sunday by sending messages to the officially recognized Secretariat of the party in all the 36 states.
“He also sent the names of the Chairman and Secretary of the party in each state. The Chairman of APC in Kwara state is Alhaji Abdullahi Samari and the Secretary is Mustapha Isowo. So, he has settled the matter.”
“The APC in Kwara state is one, we don’t have factions, those that gathered on Saturday at that place are wasting their time.”
Another APC leader in the state, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, “We won’t respond to Alhaji Lai because we have reported him to the national secretariat of the party and I can tell you that the national headquarters will take action against the minister because what he had started in Kwara is very dangerous; it’s a very bad precedent. The national body is not happy with what he has done.”
Attempts to get an official response from the National Secretary of the party were futile. Calls to his mobile telephone number were neither picked nor returned. A response to a text message sent to him was still being awaited as at 8:42pm.