…As Kwara APC crisis deepens
By Wole Adedeji, Ilorin
Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has dissociated himself from the attendant sleaze of ‘O to ge’, the 2019 political battle slogan that saw the All Progressives Congress (APC) taking power from the Sarakis.
‘O to ge’ was the talk of the town that for over two years dominated the airwaves to highlight the purported shortcomings of the governments in Kwara for 16 years under the control of both the state political icon, Dr. Olusola Saraki and his son, Dr. Bukola.
The slogan was loudly staged by high flying politicians like Akogun Iyiola Oyedepo, Chief Rex Olawoye, Hon. Yekeen Alajagbusi and a young man; Honourable Femi Yusuf who were said to have taken dangerous risks by daring the sitting government of Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed and his godfather, Dr. Bukola Saraki.
Until Saturday, the general thinking of the people was that the heroes of ‘O to Ge’ were a four-man erstwhile politicians who the Governor felt at a book launch on Saturday were not to be celebrated but that the glory of the victory of a long agitation was that of the generality of the people.
At the book launch, Governor Abdulrazaq who was represented by his Deputy, Mr. Kayode Alabi said:
“Since this book is about history, I feel it is important to set the record straight on a few things. First, the Otoge is the struggle of our people and it did not necessarily start in 2019.
“Every Kwaran of good conscience owned and worked for that struggle in various ways.
“We were only positioned by providence to lead the final lap of the breaking of the jinx that dated back many decades,” he said, in what was the first public statement made by him on the issues within the party.
“However, permit me to assert here that contrary to some claims out there, the battle cry ‘O to ge’ and its adoption were a product of a statewide field research that I commissioned shortly after the primaries in October 2018.
“If anyone could lay claim to its copyright, it has to be the Hook Nigeria, a communications outfit owned by very young people. One of them, Toyyib, is a Kwara South prince.
APC, the ruling party whose ticket the governor is carrying had since his inauguration on May 29, 2019 been engulfed in deep crisis which gets worse by day.
However, AbdulRazaq at the occasion said: “I also need to set the records straight about the party crisis. It did not begin after the election or swearing-in. It is safe to say that those who claimed to own the party in the state at that time practically disowned me until after the President had won his election and the coast became clearer back home.
“Here is the story. Shortly after the primaries in October, the party told me they have set up a campaign structure. Nobody consulted me before doing that, even though I was the governorship candidate.
“They asked me to fund the campaign structure that I was not privy to. Of course I declined it. I would later lead my own small campaign team across the state. It is on record that the party officially boycotted my campaign tours.
“Party officials got the instruction not to attend my campaign. A few of them can testify to this. I went round the whole of Kwara North without the party.
“However, they stylishly joined the campaign after the presidential election when it was clear Kwarans had decided in our favour.
“I am not aware of any decent democracy where a candidate would not be given the privilege of shaping the direction of his own campaign.
“I have told these stories of the slogan and of the party issues to disabuse the mind of Kwarans or friends of Kwara who may not have had this information.
“In doing so, I am not claiming sole credit for the success of the struggle. Far from it. I have done so simply to clear the air, and this book launch offers the right platform to speak up.”
He accused some party chieftains who he did not named as receiving cash donations from “Ministers, Governors, party supporters and friends of Kwara” who he said he later heard “donated hundreds of millions of naira to support the ‘O to ge’ struggle in Kwara.
“I want to say that I did not receive a kobo of that fund. But how that money was managed or stolen is a story for another day.”