Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed

The Caretaker Chairman of the All Progressives Congress in Kwara State, Abdullahi Samari, has condemned the violence that broke out on Wednesday at the venue of the party’s stakeholders meeting, alleging that the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, instigated the fracas that occurred at the venue of the meeting in Ilorin.

A former senator in the state, Suleiman Ajadi, also blamed the minister for the crisis in the state chapter party of the party, alleging that Mohammed wanted to make himself a godfather to the governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq.

Speaking in Ilorin at a news briefing on Thursday, Samari also alleged that some loyalists of the former chairman of the party in the state, Bashir Bolarinwa, masterminded the violence that disrupted the meeting.

He added, “We condemn in the strongest terms possible the show of shame by erstwhile party chairman and my brother, Bashir Bolarinwa, and a few others who are clearly acting on the instruction of the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, to disrupt the meeting.

“The violent entry by Bolarinwa was unwarranted and embarrassing. He was among the stakeholders invited for the meeting; nobody could have prevented him from joining the meeting. His conduct left so much to be desired and we urge him and other leaders of the party to have deeper introspection as senior citizens. While party democracy is not without its challenges, introducing hooligalism to the mix is not acceptable.”

Efforts to get Bolarinwa’s reaction were unsuccessful as his line was switched off, but the spokesperson for the APC Elders caucus loyal to Mohammed and Senator Gbemisola Saraki, Chief Iyiola Oyedepo, dismissed the allegations, describing Samari as an illegal chairman imposed on the party.

He added, “We are aware that the governor brought more than 200 women into the meeting and kitted them with his uniform. The women were chanting ‘Bolarinwa a thief, Oyedepo a thief’ in the hall.

If it is the minister or Bolarinwa brought them, will they attack him, why did they not attack Samari who was also in the hall? What Samari said is not correct. He is holding an illegal letter and he is occupying the seat of the chairman of the party illegally.”

Meanwhile, Ajadi told reporters on Friday that Mohammed was allegedly using Bolarinwa to destabilise the state with propaganda and anti-party activities, including a lawsuit filed by 11 of his (Mohammed) loyalists on January 29, 2021.

Ajadi added, “Ask anybody, the former chairman (Bolarinwa) hardly attended rallies with the governorship candidate then, and after he won the election they continued their antics of propagating their lies against the governor.

They were openly discrediting him under the guise of not carrying them along. How can you be disparaging somebody and you are accusing him of not carrying you along; carrying you along for what? He made the children of most of the people fighting him Special Advisers. But if Alhaji Lai Mohammed had called the chairman he brought (Bolarinwa) to order all along, it would not have gone this far.”

He alleged that Mohammed was claiming to be the leader of the party in the state when there is a governor. “I remember a case when the governor wanted to go and meet President Muhammadu Buhari in Akwa Ibom; I saw the text message of Alhaji Lai Mohammed telling the governor that he should not go. How do you command the governor not to go to where he wants to perform his official function?” he queried.

In a related development, a group of youths in the state chapter of the party, under the aegis of the Concerned Youth Stakeholders of the APC, has asked for the reconstitution of the party’s membership registration and revalidation committee sent by the national leadership of the party.

The group in a statement by John Adegboye called for a new committee “that is not only truly independent but that will be fair and just to all interests in the party without fear or favour.”

[PUNCH]

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