By Abiodun Esan
The All Progressives Congress (APC) Integrity Group in Kwara says Alhaji Lai Mohammed and Sen. Gbemi Saraki raised funds to prosecute the 2019 elections in the state.
The group’s spokesman, Alhaji Abdul-Rahoof Bello, said this in Ilorin on Tuesday in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
The group was reacting to an allegation by Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq that the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, pocketed the campaign fund for Kwara.
According to Bello, the truth of the matter is that Mohammed, Saraki and other APC chieftains sourced for the fund to finance the 2019 elections in Kwara.
“Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in collaboration with the junior Minister, Sen. Gbemisola Ruqayyat Saraki, and other national leaders of the party, worked round the clock to raise funds to finance, not only the 2019 general elections,” he said.
Bello also explained that Mohammed and other chieftains sourced for money to conduct party primary elections; campaigns; training of party election officials; mobilisation; security; logistics and funding of the presidential rally in the state.
“Since we (APC) was fighting the 2019 elections from the trenches of opposition, the planning could not have been conventionally perfect.
“Not surprisingly that a mixed-grill of approach that was improvised did achieve the desired goals beyond imagination.
“For Kwara APC as an orphan, the national leadership of the party came to the rescue by making the most senior Minister from the State, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the defacto leader of the party in the State.
“That was the money Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq claimed to have been ‘stolen’ because he was supposed to be consulted before disbursement.
“But at that point in time, who or where was Mallam Abdulrahman AbdulRasaq? What locus standi has he to query the sources and uses of funds he knew nothing about?
“It is sickening to note that the character and quality of leadership in Kwara, a State of Harmony, continue to depreciate like a weak currency, as the helmsman, Gov. Abdulrahaman Abdulrasaq unabashedly waxes stronger in mastery of barefaced lies, denials and goals displacement.
“The APC Integrity Group, like many right-thinking Kwarans, is worried and apprehensive about this ugly trends in our body politic.
“Therefore, we are constrained to speak out against the abnormality with a view to giving a sense of direction to the drifting ship of the state.
“It leaves a sour taste in the mouth that Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRasaq (GAA) has become unremorsefully notorious in propounding different conflict theories to make his ends justify his means on the crisis rocking the APC since assumption of office.
“The governor has been entertaining Kwarans with overdose of lies and half-truths to a nauseating level, that his administration becomes synonymous with deceit and falsehood personified.
“This is a contradiction in context and reality to the stated objectives of ‘O To Gẹ́ẹ́’ revolution in Kwara State,” Bello added.
The spokesman who blamed AbdulRazaq for causing the crisis rocking the party, said the governor however preferred to blame everyone except himself.
“He tarred party leaders with corrosive bitumen, portraying them as fastidious and gluttonous elements with insatiable lust for power and material gains.
“The governor was also never tired of appealing to public sentiments that he was under the pressure by Hon. Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, and a few clique, who were trying to undermine his authority as the custodian of people’s mandate and as the APC Leader in the state,” he added.
According to Bello, the governor should however tell the world what happened to the N1 billion he collected from the national headquarters of APC instead of accusing the minister of stealing campaign funds.
“Curiously, the governor has added a new stanza to his political anthem by taking refuge under immunity clause, to make a libelous allegation of ‘stolen’ campaign funds and neglect during 2019 elections.
“He made such other fallacious accusations against the leadership of the party that delivered victory on his lap without tears!
“These slanderous statements were made at a book launch by the Deputy Governor, Mr Kayode Alabi, last weekend.
“Despite the Divine intervention in his political career, it is unbelievable that Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, who allegedly collected and sat on a whooping amount of money (N1bn) from the national headquarters of APC, part of which was meant to reimburse the nomination fees paid by all aspirants who lost the tickets in the botched primary elections.
“Was he, by then, not a dark horse and an unknown quantity who was later to gate crash to have benefited from the harvest even without tilling the soil.
“Anyone could be at liberty to blame the laundry but certainly not a bed wetter! A deity that cannot help should rather leave the worshipper intact.
“What an irony that this same man is playing holier than thou, weaving spurious allegations against his benefactors,” Bello said.
He said that the APC Integrity Group was forced to react to the allegations against the minister and ithe leaders of the party because of the gravity of the allegations which, he said, amounted to perjury.
“Ordinarily, the APC Integrity Group wouldn’t have bothered responding to the acidic darts from the irritant GAA group at the book launch, but for the possibility of it misleading a section of the public.
“By generous impulse, we had wanted to give a benefit of doubt for the governor that he would come out, as usual, to disown and deny the message and the messenger after gauging the trend of public opinion on it.
“This optimism was influenced by the temerity of GAA to lie on oath before a Court of records, to disown the illegality of TIC Chairmen, sworn-in and inaugurated by the same deputy governor recently.
“The criminal offence taken for granted by GAA is known to Law as perjury, which carries a minimum of five years imprisonment on conviction.
“The same face-saving denial was made when the first attempt at Banquet Hall to remove Hon. Bashir Ọmọlaja Bolarinwa from office as party Chairman failed.
“The governor, who was physically present at the occasion, drafted his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Rafiu Ajakaye, to paint the town red with media denial.
“However, the need to straighten records has taken priority over the speculation of repentance for posterity sake,” he added.
According to him, AbdulRazaq has lost focus because he has abandoned the APC Manifesto and Roadmaster, which were the key elements in the party’s ‘Social Contract’ with the people of Kwara in 2019.
On the allegation of a cabal trying to frustrate his government, the APC Integrity Group spokesman therefore threw posers to the governor thus:
“Are the cabals or past administration responsible for the diversion of LG statutory monthly Allocations?
“Who were the cabal that armtwisted the APC local leaders to foist your candidature on members against all odds?
“On whose behalf was Hon. Bashir Ọmọlaja Bolarinwa prostrating to a congregation of members, pleading for continued support and cooperation, at Savannah Event Centre?
“If the party did not campaign for you, in whose interest did Rotimi Amaechi came to Ilorin to launch a digital ‘Election Situation Report Website? Was the idea yours?
“Was the ‘cabal’ or past administration responsible for corruption in high places such as SUBEB; Ilorin Government High School inflated contracts; false claims on road rehabilitation, etc?
“Who are the ‘cabals’ stalling the staggered nomination and appointment of mediocres into your administration?
“Was it the ‘godfathers’ preventing Ifelodun from having a Commissioner till date?
“Who was responsible for the illegality of suspension and appointment of TIC? Who was responsible for the denial?
“Was the cabals or past administration responsible for your uncountable failed promises?,” he asked.
Bello therefore challenged the governor to provide satisfactory answers to these and other issues bothering the state, concentrate on good governance and wait patiently to log out in 2023.