By Yusuf Luqman and Balkis Tijani.
A powerful block within the ruling party in Kwara state, the All Progressives Congress, APC, has made strong allegations against Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq whom it accused of executing a plan to set up another hegemony similar to the Sarakis.
In a strongly worded statement released on Sunday in Ilorin, the group, which goes by the name Kwara Elites for Total Freedom (KETF), expressed fears that the less than a week old government of Gov. Abdulrazaq is already hijacked by his family members.
The group also alleged that Governor Abdulrazaq plans to wreck vengeance on the Emir of Ilorin, Dr. Ibrahim Sulu Gambari, and even go as far as dethroning him for the personal insults meted out to the Abdulrazaq family when he (the Emir) boycotted the patriarch of the family, Alhaji AGF Abdulrazaq in the award of Waziri title; which he gave to the late Dr. Olusola Saraki and later his son, outgoing Senate President Bukola Saraki.
“We condemn in strong terms the strategic takeover of Government by only Abdulrazaq family at the expense of other progressives. We also request that the Abdulrazaq family should restrain from its planned vengeance attack against the referred stool of Emir of Ilorin”, a part of the statement reads.
Detailing the intrigues that preceded the APC governorship primaries, the group recalled how many of the APC leaders who invested their resources and risked their lives in the struggle for the political freedom of Kwara State were shoved aside, while Abdulrazaq Abdulrahman (one of the aspirants then) was imposed on the others.
“The plot to build a political dynasty for the Abdulrazaqs dated back to the pre-primary elections of our party where several aspirants indicated interest in the gubernatorial contest, some of these aspirants include: Professor Oba Abdulraheem, Hon. Moshood Mustapha, Mr. Akeem Lawal, Mr Saliu Mustapha, Mr Lukman Mustapha, Mr. Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq, Kale Belgore, Yaman Abdullahi, ,Mallam Gobir and Abdulfatai Yahaya Sheriki.
“The above listed men of courage all went to the field spending their money, mobilizing logistics and resources while hoping for an interesting and unbiased party primaries. But interestingly, few weeks to the primaries, a thick rumor began to smoke out that there was an anointed candidate in the person of Alh. Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq.
“At the initial stage, we as a group did not take the rumors too serious, we thought it was a usual political jamboree from the stable of opposition aimed at dismantling the hard labour of progressives at the wake of the primary, hence, we enjoined all aspirants to discard such a rumour and proceed with their individual mobilization and preparation towards the primaries.
“As part of the drama which marred the primaries, Direct and Indirect primaries became subject of argument in which the former was later adopted by the NWC of the party. Alas! The rumor was established and Abdulrahman emerged to the amazement of other aspirants who had invested so much energy and resources to the struggle. As human, we were all bittered by this ugly development but because of our zeal and commitments to the struggle ahead of us, we set our individual grievances aside and joined hands with the party’s decision to support Abdulrahman’s bid,” the group said.
Revealing how the party, APC, during the primaries neglected the feelings of bitterness expressed by the other aspirants, and how the expectations of allowing the other aspirants who lost out to Abdulrahman to pick a deputy governorship candidate from amongst themselves was again dashed, KETF said “Mr. Kayode Alabi, a man with long history of family relationship with Abdulrazaq family came to the fore as running mate.
“It is not a joke therefore that the reality unfolding so far after our victory have only been favorable to the Abdulrazaq family alone at the expense of other interest groups which make up the APC.”
While providing details of the alleged plot to build an Abdulrazak hegemony in Kwara State, the statement disclosed that it obtained information to the effect that Governor Abdulrahaman’s older brother Isiaka Abdulrazaq “has already penciled down one of their immediate cousins, Dr.Yusuf Lawal for the position of Chief of Staff, while one 79 year old Engineer Adisa Logun was billed to be the Secretary to the State Government.”
“We condemn in totality the attempt of Abdulrazaq family to dominate the government and deprive other progressives the opportunity to be identified in a government they suffered to entrench,” the group emphasized.
Coming to the allegation of a plan to dethrone the Emir, Dr. Ibrahim Zulu Gambari, KETF said it has information that “the next plan of the Abdulrazaq family is to dethrone the Emir of Ilorin, Dr. Ibrahim Zulu Gambari, and a prince who is extremely close to Abdulrazaq family is being sinisterly prepared to step into the throne of our Emir. The Prince is the son of the 10th Emir of Ilorin.
“The said Prince was involved in the rigorous business of the last elections. He was put to oversee the mobilization of supports of all traditional chiefs across the Emirate which include; the Daudus, Alanguas, Mongajis and the Mallams to ensure victory for Abdulrahman. This was an assignment perfectly carried out by the said Prince.”
Given reasons why Governor Abdulrazaq would want to dethrone an Emir that has been on the throne for more than a decade and half, the APC stakeholder group said the reason was a simple but protracted family supremacy battle between the Sarakis and the Abdulrazaqs.
“Abdulrazaq family see themselves as arch rivals to the Saraki family for so long and had maintained strong reservation for the Emir. Their family calculation is that the upper hand the Sarakis have been having over them has been due to the strong support the Sarakis enjoy from the Emir.
“The family believes that their scion, AGF Abdulrazaq, being the most senior traditional title holder with an external title from Zaria, was supposed to be the Waziri of Ilorin but the Emir deemed the late Abubarkar Olusola Saraki fit for that title. After the death of the political sage, Dr Olusola Saraki, the Abdulrazaq family lobbied immensely for their father, AGF Abdulrazaq before the title was later conferred on the outgoing senate president, Dr. Abubarkar Bukola Saraki, an action which further infuriated the Abdulrazaqs and triggered their hatred and bitterness against the Emir.”
Closing with a warning, the group reminded Governor Abdulrahman that the liberation struggle that brought him to office was so that Kwara can be free “from the shackles of the Sarakis and it was primarily for Kwarans and development of Kwara and not for the sole interest of the Abdulrazaq family.”
The governor was also requested not to use a collective mandate won by hardworking progressives in Kwara and beyond for vengeance, but instead deploy it to promote peace and harmony in the state “under which service delivery can be guaranteed.”
INSIDER tried unsuccessfully to get across to Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq for reactions to the allegations contained in this report. However, our contact person kept assuring us that we would receive a mail that will clarify all we wanted to know. The mail never came till the time we decided to file our report in the early hours of today (Tuesday).
Attempts to reach the Kwara State chairman of APC, Mr. Bashir Bolarinwa for comment also proved futile as calls made to his phone did not connect. But a young member of the party who spoke to one of our correspondents from Abuja on the issue simply said, “I don’t have details. My prayer is for Kwara not to move from frying pan to fire.”