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Will O to Ge Campaign Define Kwara’s Political Landscape in 2023?

todayAugust 23, 2022 1

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Hammed Shittu writes that the collapse of O to Ge (enough is enough) movement into various political platforms in Kwara State ahead of 2023 election may affect the re-election bid of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq

The break-away of the major stakeholders of O to Ge movement into various political groups in Kwara state ahead of 2023 general election has continued to give the leadership of the All Progressive Congress (APC) serious concern in the state. This development, according to political pundits, may hinder the success of the party and the re-election of Governor AbdulRahmanAbdulRazaq in the next election.

O to Ge, a Yoruba sentence, meaning  enough is enough, is a political slogan of the ruling APC in Kwara state today.

When the wildfire of the O to Ge  movement in Kwara state spread across the 193 wards in 2019 general election and sacked the Saraki dynasty from 40 years governance and domination of the state, little did the people of the state know that the movement will collapse in no distant time in view of the present situation among the stakeholders of the movement  ahead of next poll in the state.

 The amalgamation of these forces then gave a serious fight with the ruling Saraki dynasty of the Peoples Democratic Party which at the end of the day led to the sweeping of all the elective positions of both state and national assemblies by the ruling APC and crowned it with the emergence of Governor AbdulRahmanAbdulRazaq as the 12th elected governor of the state.

The desire of the movement to wrestle power from the dynasty in the state started over a long time ago and the 2019 general election saw an avenue to realize the objective as the people of the state came out to launch political war against the Saraki dynasty and its PDP and worked  as a united front towards their long time objective to take over the control of the governance of the State of Harmony from Saraki dynasty.

During the review of the performance of the party in that election at a meeting by the stakeholders of the party, the political jargon returned and it was adopted as the campaign slogan of all the party’s candidates in the state.

The gubernatorial candidate of the party, AbdulrahmanAbdulrazaq, had, in his wisdom, approved O to Ge as his own campaign slogan and others followed. Consequently, across the nooks and crannies of the state, O to Ge is in the mouths, and minds of everyone.

But surprisingly, the movement cannot withstand test of time as they crashed like pack of sands into ocean within the shortest time of the administration. The cracks that started since the inauguration of the administration cannot hold themselves together again as at the time of filing this report.

This unity of purpose however crashed as the division was so serious that the center cannot hold and the crisis ensued and this continued in the APC in the state during the period under review. The leadership of the party led by the governor allegedly failed to manage the success of the electoral victory and the development after a short time leading to the factionalisation in the party to the extent that, the party then has two party secretariats in the state.

One faction was led by a former Chairman of the party, Hon. Bashir OmolajaBolarinwa with its state secretariat located along Flower Gardens, GRA, Ilorin with the minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed as the leader and tagged it then as APC Loyal of the faction while the other state secretariat was sited at Commissioner’s Lodge Area, GRA, Ilorin with AlhajiAbdullahiSamari as its state chairman while the state governor, AlhajiAbdulRazaq remained its leader in the state and was then tagged it as AA group in the party.

That was the situation of things till the national secretariat recognized a group in the party after all series of peaceful interventions and  litigations that marred the crisis in the party.

Even then, the elders of the party led by a former Ambassador to Malaysia, AlhajiNurudeen Mohammed and the national secretariat of the party tried all their possible best to resolve the crisis but yielded no positive result.

At the end of the day, the national leadership of the party recognised the governor’s faction and the group at the end conducted the state congress of the party and elected Ekiti local government born politician, Prince Sunday Fagbemi, as its new state chairman and this finally led to the take over of the party structures by the governor.

Although, the other faction led by Bolarinwa tried as much as possible to challenge the decision of the national leadership’s recognition of the governor’s faction at an appropriate quarters of the party and at the court of law but the governor’s faction had its way and finally the governor took over the control of the party in the state.

Moreover, the party later held its state primaries ahead of 2023 polls and the governor emerged as the governorship candidate of the party  while other candidates have also emerged for various state and national assemblies’ positions.

Following this development, the Bolarinwa faction decided to quit the party and joined the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and converted its state secretariat located along  Flower Gardens, GRA, Ilorin to SDP secretariat.The party also conducted its state congress and elected AlhajiAbdulAzeezAfolabi as its state chairman. The SDP paraded the major actors of the enough is enough movement in the state and this has brought downfall of the movement in the state.

The party also held its state primaries and elected the son of the former governor of the state, Alhaji Hakeem Mohammed Lawal as the governorship candidate while other candidates also emerged as the state and national assemblies  ahead of the 2023 general election.

As if this was not enough, one of the major financiers of the enough is enough movement during the 2019 general election in the state, AlhajiYakubGobir also called it a day with the ruling APC and joined Young Progressives Party (YPP). The party also held its state primaries and was elected as its governorship candidate ahead of the next poll. Gobir remained a major factor in the winning strategy of the enough is enough movement during the last election and has also left the APC in the state due to irreconcilable crisis in the party.

 Also, one of the major contenders to the governorship position during the 2019 election and former vlVice Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Professor Shuaib Oba Abdulraheem, has also left the APC in the state. He has since joined the Kwankwaso party, New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP)and has emerged as the gubernatorial candidate of the party ahead of the next elections. Abdulraheem also remained a major factor in the enough is enough movement in the state.

It should also be noted that a former two- term Senator for Kwara south senatorial district  and a confidant of the governor, Senator Suleiman MakanjuolaAjadi has also left the APC in the state. Senator Ajadi, decided to leave the party following the alleged maltreatment meted to him during the last state primaries of the party and later joined African Democratic Congress (ADC). He later emerged as the Kwara South senatorial candidate of the ADC ahead of the 2023 election. Ajadi also remained a major factor in the struggle of the enough is enough movement in the state.

The dust raised by the conduct of the last primaries of the APC in the state has also caused disaffection in the party and this has led to the cold war between the governor and the senator representing Kwara Central Senatorial district at the national assembly, Senator YahayaOloriegbe. Oloriegbe also remained a major factor in the enough is enough movement in the state. Oloriegbe in a recent audio during a political meeting with his teeming supporters after the primaries of the party in Ilorin told his supporters that, he would not support the governor for his second term bid but would only support the national campaigns of the party during the next elections.

However, THISDAY checks revealed that the governor had since been meeting the remaining party leaders, former party aspirants and candidates of the party on the need to allow peace to reign supreme in the party.

The development, according to sources, might not  be unconnected with the recent development in Osun State where the incumbent Governor, AlhajiIsiakaOyetola, was defeated by the opposition, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state. Sources said  the loss of the election by Governor Oyetola was said to be due to the internal crisis in the party and therefore the state governor, AlhajiAbdulRahmanAbdulRazaq, had to take the bull by the horns so as to avoid repetition of such episode in the state during the 2023 election.

In a chat with THISDAY in Ilorin on the present situation in the APC, a chieftain of the party in the state who sought anonymity said the current situation in the party is very sympathetic.

She said, “We didn’t bargain for this situation in the APC in Kwara state because the party is seriously going down and only God can help us out. The governor that is supposed to shift ground and embrace peace when the crisis started has allegedly failed to do so and this has led many strong leaders of the party to part ways with the party. I know it will not be easy to achieve the results that the party recorded during the 2019 elections in the state due to the dwindling situation in the party”.

She, however, advised the party leadership and the governor himself to move more inwards and ensure that they work with the remaining leaders and members of the party so as to move the party forward.

Recently, the state Public Relations Officer of the party, AlhajiTajudeenFolaranmi, said it is not easy to lose a member of the party to another party because politics is a game of number.

According to him, “the current gang up of some of our members to defect to other parties to form opposition against the governor would not have considerable impact during the next polls because the governor has performed for the people of the state.”

With the current situation in the party, its leadership in the state would need to work extra miles to ensure the slogan of enough is enough is resurrected again in the next election come 2023 in the state.

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